Report: 2nd Suspected Syria Nuclear Site Is Foundإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
A second suspected nuclear installation has been identified in Syria, according to commercial satellite photos, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The publishing Wednesday of the photos by Washington's Institute for Science and International Security could increase pressure on the United Nations to demand wide new inspections of suspect Syrian facilities during a March board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The newspaper said that “the photos published by the ISIS identifies what it says are one of the three additional sites the IAEA believes could be connected to the Deir al-Zour facility.”
“In a series of photos, ISIS displays what it alleges were apparent Syrian attempts to disguise the activities of site after the Israeli attack (2007),” it added.
Israel attack in 2007 an alleged nuclear site in Syria in which Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, reports say.
The report noted that the “ISIS says the location and contours of the building suggests it housed uranium-conversion equipment that is used to produce nuclear fuel. The facility, in a town called Marj as-Sultan, is on the outskirts of Damascus.”
ISIS said it located the site using commercial satellite images based on information provided by sources at the IAEA as well as by a report in the German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
The Wall Street Journal on Friday cited unnamed officials in the United States and Israel as saying both countries are monitoring Syria's suspected nonconventional arms, fearing that terror groups could take advantage of the unrest to obtain chemical agents and long-range missiles.
The newspaper said U.S. intelligence services believe Syria possesses significant stockpiles of mustard, VX and Sarin gasses and the missile and artillery systems to deliver them.
IAEA inspectors had visited eastern Syria in 2008 and reported that they recovered traces of processed uranium from a site called Deir al-Zour, which the Bush administration alleged housed a nearly operational nuclear reactor. Israeli jets destroyed the facility nearly eight months before the IAEA's visit.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has said in recent months that he'd consider calling for a so-called special inspection of Syrian sites if Damascus continues to deny U.N. staff entry, But Syria could then be referred to the Security Council, if it again refused the IAEA's request.
Diplomats at the IAEA told the newspaper that Amano is also considering releasing a report at the March meeting that would detail what the agency says is evidence that Syria was secretly developing a nuclear reactor.
Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has rebuffed repeated IAEA requests to conduct additional inspections of the site as well as three other facilities the U.N. agency believes could be related to a covert Syrian nuclear program.
Syria is one of six nations that isn't a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the production and stockpiling of chemical weapons.