Head of alleged Syrian chemical weapons facility dies in bombing

Syrian scientist killed in apparent car-bomb attack

Syrian scientist killed in apparent car-bomb attack

The head of a suspected chemical weapons' research centre in Syria has been killed in a vehicle bombing, pro-government and opposition media report.

Aziz Asber, who ran the Masyaf base near the northern city of Hama, died when his auto exploded yesterday evening.

The explosion occurred on Saturday night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

The group is an affiliate of Islamist group Tahrir al-Sham, which is itself linked with al-Qaeda.

The Abu Amara Brigades released a statement on their Telegram channel saying they had planted explosive devices that detonated and killed Asber.

The Masyaf facility has previously been hit by what the Syrian government said were Israeli strikes in July and a year ago in September.

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After hundreds of people were killed in chemical attacks near Damascus in August 2013, a landmark deal with Russian Federation was struck to rid Syria of its chemical weapons stash, staving off USA airstrikes.

Esber played a role in Syria's missile development programme and had close links with the government and its Iranian allies, the Syrian Observatory added.

"The general was close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to Iran", Abdel Rahman said.

Missile strikes by the US, Britain and France destroyed another Syrian scientific studies and research centre facility in Damascus in April, in response to a suspected poison gas attack.

The research centre that Asber led in the western city of Masyaf has previously been targeted by air strikes.

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