'Syria building chemical weapons plant'

Jane's reports extensive construction has taken place at al-Safir site, based on satellite images.

Assad 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Assad 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Syria has been conducting extensive construction work on a chemical weapons facility in the country's northwest, satellite images obtained by the defense analyst group Jane's reveal. The images of a chemical weapons facility identified as al-Safir were taken by several commercial sources from 2005 to 2008, the analyst group said. Imagery obtained by DigitalGlobe's WorldView-1 satellite shows that extensive construction has taken place at the facility, as well as at an adjacent missile base, the group wrote. In addition, the images showed that the site contained a number of the "defining features of a chemical weapons facility." Al-Safir is home to a chemical weapons production facility and a missile base that holds a significant part of Syria's long-range Scud D ballistic missiles, according to foreign reports. The Scud D has a range of 700 kilometers and al-Safir is reported to have several dozen underground fortified bunkers where the launchers and the missiles are stored.