'Syria will be able to manufacture ballistic missiles'

Report claims Syria will produce ballistic and long-range missiles by the end of the year; North Korean soldiers integrate into Syrian army.

Shimon Cohen ,

Flash 90

The Syrian opposition website Zamanalwsl.net recently claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is building a facility to manufacture long-range missiles in Wadi Jahannam, between Baniyas and Hama.

However, the MEMRI researchers who translated the articles said it is not clear how accurate they are.

According to the article, the facility meets the standards set by the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which is responsible for deciding the sanctions imposed by the Syrian government "as an agency of the Syrian government, which is responsible for the development and manufacture of non-conventional weapons."

MEMRI researchers translated the main sections of the articles, which said that "the site received exclusive pictures of the SSRC which the Assad government is building in Wadi Jahannam in the rural area of Tartus."

"The new photos support our site's previous report regarding the center where Bashar [Al-Assad] paid a secret visit that was disguised as a public and documented tour of a visit to several homes [of his supporters] in the rural region of Hama," the opposition's site claimed.

"This is a facility for developing and manufacturing long-range and ballistic M600 missiles - which is the secret name that the SSRC gave to them. The facility manufactures missiles according to the Iranian 'Fatah 110' model."

The website also said that the new missiles facility has a branch in Deir Shamil, where there is a base belonging to the Syrian Defense Forces' Fourth Division and commanded by Bashar al-Assad's brother Maher. This division manufactures chemical materials which are stored in underground tunnels in the hills close to the road.

Deir Shamil is in western Hama.

The sources believe that the center will be ready by the current year.

According to the article, in September 2015, there was a report of a Russian base near Kafr Kayibb, which is in a rural part of Baniyas. Then, they said, "a former soldier working in a senior position in the SSRC" who went by the name of "Iman al-Takiyl" served in a base during the year 1999 and reported that his base also had "Russian and North Korean soldiers and captains."

According to al-Takiyl, during his service there were "huge trucks filled with supplies and covered in boards. The Syrian soldiers' job was to take off the wood. Then they would call the Russians and North Koreans and transfer the supplies to different trucks and cover them with fabric curtains under the Air Force intelligence's heavy guard."

"The service was always shrouded in secrecy, and soldiers who served there were not allowed to leave the country for five years after their period of service ended, and not allowed to speak about what they did during their service for the next fifteen years."