Western intelligence points to new Syrian nuclear plant: report

Al-Qusayr, SyriaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
Western intelligence indicates that the government of Syria is in the process of constructing a new secret nuclear plant aimed at producing nuclear weapons. In the early hours of September 7, 2007, an air attack believed to have been carried out by Israel destroyed a mysterious facility deep in the Syro-Arabian Desert. The site, named al-Kibar, located 20 miles from Deir el-Zor in eastern Syria, is widely thought to have been a nuclear reactor under construction by Damascus. The Syrian government has never commented or protested about the incident. But in late 2008, the Israeli government told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Syria was once again “actively involved in plutonium production” and that Damascus had renewed its nuclear collaboration with North Korea, which was actively supplying Syria “with nuclear materials and research”. Now a report in leading German newsmagazine Der Spiegel claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had transported 8,000 fuel rods that had been destined for al-Kibar to a new location in the southwest of the country. The report, published on Saturday, cited information from “Western intelligence sources”, which it did not identify. The newsmagazine said it had seen intelligence reports containing satellite photographs and transcriptions of intercepted radio traffic, which left little doubt that the Syrian government was in the process of constructing a new nuclear reactor. The German-language publication said the plant is being constructed deep underground in a remote mountainous region near the small town of Al-Qusayr, located less than two miles from the northern Lebanese border. According to the report, construction on the al-Qusayr plant, which the Syrians appear to have codenamed “Zamzam”, began in 2009 under the watchful eye of Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah, which currently guards the plant with “elite units”. The site appears ideal, said Der Spiegel, as it is adjacent to significant supplies of water, and is connected to the energy grid through special access nodes. The newsmagazine said radio traffic intercepts include conversations between senior Syrian military officials and Ibrahim Othman, head of the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission. The discussions seem to indicate that the construction project is being assisted by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The article points out that Western monitors are certain the technical aspects of the project are being led by North Korean experts, and that some of them are currently in Damascus. According to the IAEA, the Syrian government is in possession of approximately 50 tons of natural uranium, which, if enriched, could provide material for up to three nuclear bombs.

7 Responses to Western intelligence points to new Syrian nuclear plant: report

  1. RJ Hawk says:

    So now what happens with this unstable, oppressive regime, while we wait. And wait and wait. As usual. For years. While nuclear weapons are made by desperate, oppressive, unstable regimes, our antiquated wait and see attitude awards them with time with which to build functional nuclear weapons. Better yet, let’s just sit back and watch them as they sell much needed weapons to the ilk like ISIS. They do make a million a day on oil in the black market. I see a relationship here.

  2. Where’s the source for this as your relevant link leads to the secretive Section 404 Area of your website! If true it is much more worrying than it sounds because as of Saturday 10th January it was reported that 600 Free Syrian Army fighters in Al-Qusayr pledged themselves to ISIL’s Al-Baghdadi per http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/3000-fsa-fighters-defect-isis-qalamoun-mountains.

  3. intelNews says:

    @Bill Fairclough: Problem with the link corrected. See also here. Thanks for catching it.

  4. In the link to Spiegel (now legible thank you) it is interesting that Erich Follath (the journalist) justifiably describes the existence of an ongoing nuclear facility two miles from the Syrian/Lebanese border as being of “incalculable geopolitical consequences” yet he was not even aware of the Free Syrian Army defections (which happened 24 hours after his article was published)! Just how complicated can things get in a supposedly “empty” desert?

  5. Carl says:

    This does not make any sense at all. Al-Qusayr is under Hezbollah control (since the remnants of the Syrian Arab Army cannot be trusted to hand onto it). The nearby Qalamoun Mountains are still crawling with Salafi Jihadists. It would have ben quite a feat to construct an “underground” facility of any military significance in the middle of a civil war raging across that region. Moving some rods and / or technicians is one thing but building any underground nuclear edifice of military relevance is quite another.

  6. It certainly is chaotic if not confusing and the whole story may lend itself to the ash piles of conspiracy theories. However, most tunnel and underground facilities are often built in secret in war time and can be huge as was the case with Hitler’s attempt to secretly build nuclear facilities near the Mathausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria.

    Over 300,000 people are estimated to have died building it and it was allegedly physically connected to the nearby B8 Bergkristall underground factory that produced the Messerschmitt Me 262 (where the Nazis built the first ever jet fighter). Even to date some seventy years later the subterranean labyrinth has yet to be thoroughly explored.

    Maybe we should hold our judgement on Al-Qusayr until that has too been thoroughly explored and analysed. Already there must exist satellite photographs which will have proven whether or not there is an underground labyrinth of caves, rooms etc. Just ask your local senator!


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