Syria arms ‘institute’ must be stopped, official says

Counter-Terrorism Bureau: The int'l community must send a signal that next time the 'institute' supports terrorism, it will be demolished.

September 15, 2010 01:50
2 minute read.
Scud D launcher

Scud D launcher. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The international community should warn Damascus that a Syrian “institute” responsible for transferring weapons to Hizbullah and Hamas “will be demolished” if it continues arming terrorist organizations, Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Nitzan Nuriel, director of the National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, said on Monday.

Nuriel made the remarks during the Tenth Annual World Summit on Counter-Terrorism held at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), a part of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

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Nuriel was referring to Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC or CERS, in French), the Prime Minister’s Office told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

In 2005, former US president George Bush designated the SSRC as a weapons proliferator, accusing it of developing missiles as well as biological and chemical weapons.

Two years later, the US Treasury banned trade with three Syrian institutes that are subsidiaries of the SSRC. In 2004, Israel’s Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said in a report on Syria that the SSRC had been developing ricinbased biological weapons.

During his speech on Monday, Nuriel said the center had transferred arms to Hamas and Hizbullah.

“The international community must send a signal that next time the institute supports terrorism, it will be demolished,” he said.

Hizbullah and Hamas possessed weapons that “nations in Europe do not have” and Hamas is now equipped with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and long-range rockets, Nuriel said.

“These are national capabilities.

It’s no longer three guys and a booby trap,” he said.

“Terror will exist forever,” he continued, adding that the international community must work together to “bring terrorism down to a level we can live with.

“Right now, this is not the case,” he said. “We have to do much more.”

Later during the conference, Dr. Boaz Ganor, executive director of the ICT, said he believed there was a strong possibility that terrorists would launch a limited chemical terror attack in the coming years, and called on states to prepare accordingly.

“Modern nonconventional terror is knocking on our door,” Ganor said.

Ganor distinguished between modern non-conventional terror and “postmodern non-conventional terror,” such as a biological or nuclear terrorism, saying that the latter was aimed at “changing reality by the act itself.”

“The most immediate threat is chemical terrorism,” he said. “We know that today, terrorists can download cookbooks from the Internet. They have primitive labs to prepare IEDs [improvised explosive devices], and can use the labs to prepare toxins rather than IEDs.”

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