Special Weapons Agencies
Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS) Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) Center for Scientific Studies and Research (SSRC) Scientific Studies Research Centre (SSRC) Center for Study and Research (CERS) Scientific Studies and Research Council Syrian Scientific Research Council (SSRC) Scientific Research Council (SRC) Barzeh Street P.O. Box 4470 DAMASCUS, Syria Tel. +963 11 772 603 Fax +963 11 2223771 Atomic Energy Commission of Syria P.O.Box 6091 Damascus, Syria Telephone: 6668114/5 Telefax : 6620317
On 13 April 2018, US., British and French service members launched attacks that severely degraded the Syrian chemical arsenal and sent a message to Syrian leader Bashir Assad to stop using chemical weapons against his own people. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the Joint Staff director, said missiles hit three distinct military chemical weapons targets. "The three facilities are – or more appropriately, were – the fundamental components of the regime's chemical weapons warfare infrastructure," McKenzie said.
One target, the Barzah [aka Barzeh] center, housed the regime's research, development and production center for chemical and biological weapons. Imagery taken after the strike show that where once three buildings stood, there is now nothing but rubble. Strikes also hit a chemical weapons storage facility and a chemical bunker facility. "We selected these targets carefully to minimize the risk to innocent civilians," the general said.
A Western intelligence agency told the BBC in May 2017 that the SSRC branch in Barzeh - along with two others in nearby Dummar (Jamraya) and in Masyaf, in Hama province - were being used to produce chemical and biological munitions in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
As might be surmised from its apparently innocent name, the Scientific Studies and Research Center is the Syrian government agency responsible for non-conventional weapons development and production, including research on weapons of mass destruction and missiles that can deliver them.
The overt goals of the Center are to promote and coordinate scientific activities in the country, particularly those related to Education, Research & Development, Consulting, manufacturing and maintenance, and to work on research and development projects needed for the economic and social development of the country, particularly on the computerization of governmental enterprises and institutions.
The the extensive foreign activities of Syrian intelligence services include substantial acquisition efforts focused on biological and chemical weapons. The Syrian procurement structure uses the Scientific Studies and Research Center as cover.
Secretly assisted by Russian chemical experts, the Syrian military research and development and industrial complex known as the Scientific Studies and Research Center had little trouble getting the required expertise, technology and materials from Russian sources to produce VX nerve gas.
The Washington Times reported on July 23, 1996 that the CIA had discovered that Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center received a shipment of missile components from China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation, China's premier firm selling missiles (particularly M-11s) abroad.
The Bureau of Industry and Security, US Department of Commerce, added Persons acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States to the Entity List; and Implementation of Additional Changes From the Annual Review of the Entity List on August 15, 2011 under 15 CFR Part 744 [Docket No. 110502272-1391-01]. The Entity List notifies the public that certain exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) to entities identified on the Entity List require a license from BIS and that the availability of license exceptions in such transactions is limited [aka, not going to happen]. The End-User Review Committee (ERC), composed of representatives of the Departments of Commerce (Chair), State, Defense, Energy and, when appropriate, the Treasury, makes all decisions regarding additions to, removals from, or other changes to the Entity List. Examples of the specific activities these persons have been involved with that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States pursuant to section 744.11 include the violation of the license requirements imposed for exports and reexports to Syria as specified in General Order No. 2 of Supplement No. 1 to part 736 of the EAR.
Specifically, this rule added Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), a.k.a., Center for Scientific Studies and Research (SSRC), Scientific Studies Research Centre (SSRC), Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS), Center for Study and Research (CERS), Scientific Studies and Research Council, Syrian Scientific Research Council, Scientific Research Council (SRC), P.O. Box 4470, Damascus, Syria. Also included was the National Standards and Calibration Laboratory (NSCL), a.k.a., Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC)-NSCL, Institut National Calibration Centre, P.O. Box 4470, Damascus, Syria.
In 2013 intelligence agencies in the US and allied nations were not able to establish that President Bashar Assad’s government ordered chemical weapons attack on rebel strongholds. The Assad government blamed rebels for the chemical attacks. “The best evidence linking the regime to the attack at a high level is the involvement of SSRC, the science center that created the (chemical weapons) program and manages it. SSRC works for the president’s office and reports to him,” Bruce Riedel, a former senior US intelligence expert, told Reuters 07 September 2013.
On 23 July 2014, the European Union sanctioned Amr Armanazi (a.k.a. Amr Muhammad Najib Al-Armanazi, Amr Najib Armanazi, Amrou Al-Armanazy), Director-General of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), responsible for providing support to the Syrian army for the acquisition of equipment used for the surveillance and repression of demonstrators. Also responsible for the development and production of non-conventional weapons, including chemical weapons, and the missiles to deliver them. He was deemed responsible for the violent repression of the civilian population; supports the regime.
On 23 July 2014, the European Union sanctioned Colonel Mohammed Bilal (a.k.a. Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Bilal). As a senior officer in the Air Force Intelligence Service of Syria, he supports the Syrian regime and he is responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population. He is also associated with the listed Scientific Studies Research Centre (SSRC).
On 07 March 20156, the European Union sanctioned Brigadier General Ghassan Abbas, Manager of the branch of the designated Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC/CERS) near Jumraya/Jmraiya. He has been involved in the proliferation of chemical weapons and the organisation of chemical weapons attacks, including in Ghouta in August 2013. He therefore shares responsibility for the violent repression against the Syrian population. As manager of the SSRC/CERS branch near Jumraya/Jmraiya, Ghassan Abbas provides support to the Syrian regime. As a result of his senior position in the SSRC, he is also associated with the designated entity SSRC.
On 17 July 2014, the European Union sanctioned Samir Dabul (a.k.a.: Samir Daaboul), and Ali Wanus (a.k.a.: Ali Wannous), both with the rank of Brigadier General, in post after May 2011. As senior military officers they were responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population and involved in the storage and deployment of chemical weapons. They were also associated with the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre, a listed entity.
On July 17, 2017, Heather Nauert, United States Department of State Spokesperson, stated "We applaud today’s decision by the Council of the European Union to sanction sixteen senior military officials and Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre scientists (SSRC) for their roles in the development and use of chemical weapons against civilian populations. This action follows sanctions designations recently undertaken by the United States, similarly aimed at holding the Syrian regime accountable for its repeated use of chemicals weapons on the Syrian people, including the April 4 Khan Shaykhun attack. In April 2017, the United States sanctioned numerous employees of the SSRC, the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons in support of Syria’s chemical weapons program. Additionally, in May 2017, the United States sanctioned a number of Syrian individuals and entities in response to acts of violence committed by the Government of Syria against its own citizens. The combined efforts of the United States and the European Union, as well as recent sanctions actions by other partner states, are part of a continuing effort in the international community to hold the Assad regime responsible for violating longstanding global norms against the use of chemical weapons."
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