Syria has long held nuclear ambitions, but a 2007 strike widely attributed to Israel likely set back their fledgling nuclear program by years.
By World Israel News Staff
Iran is helping finance and construct a nuclear reactor in Syria, Saudi daily Okaz reported a former Syrian parliamentarian as saying.
Mohammad Barmo, who is now a political dissident fighting to unseat Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, has made the explosive accusation in the past.
Israel is widely believed to have bombed Syria’s fledgling Al-Kibar nuclear development site in the eastern Deir Ezzor district in 2007.
But according to numerous political enemies of al-Assad, the bombing didn’t completely put a damper on Syria’s plans to develop its nuclear program.
Despite refusing to publicly admit that the country has nuclear ambitions, Syria has consistently tried to advance its nuclear development program, say various international agencies.
Watchdog group the Nuclear Threat Initiative reports that Syria has “sought nuclear technical assistance from countries including China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea” in the past.
The NTI notes that the International Atomic Energy Agency “concluded that the Al-Kibar facility, destroyed by Israel in 2007, was ‘very likely a nuclear reactor’ and should have been declared to the IAEA.”
Because of the chaos caused by the now-decade long Syrian civil war, international watchdog groups and nuclear inspectors have not had the opportunity to conduct investigations into possible nuclear sites within the country.
During this time, it’s possible that Syria could be discreetly moving to advance its nuclear program with less risk of international scrutiny.
German newspaper Spiegel Online reported in 2015 that Syria’s nuclear program was continuing in a secret underground facility near the southern border with Lebanon.
However, no corroborating evidence could be found to support the report, aside from statements from anonymous sources.
In May 2021, Russia announced that it deployed three nuclear-capable long-range bombers to its operational bases in Syria.