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Syrian scientist killed in apparent car-bomb attack

07 August 2018

Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at the time said the strikes hit the Scientific Studies and Research Centre facility, the agency the United States describes as Syria's chemical weapons manufacturer.

Aziz Asber, the head of the Scientific Research Center in Syria's central province of Hama, was assassinated late on Saturday, according to activists and pro-government reports.

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.

On July 22, Israeli air strikes targeted the research unit, which was said to have close links to Iran, according to the UK-based Observatory.

There have been no official comments from the Syrian government, with pro-government activists posting photos online of a charred auto said to be the scientist's.

The Syrian government, backed by Russian Federation, has denied using, or possessing, chemical weapons.

A rebel group said it carried out the attack, but there has been speculation that others could be involved.

The U.S. leveled sanctions against 271 employees of the SSRC less than three weeks after the attack, saying the agency was responsible for "developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them". Asbar was not among the targeted individuals.

A number of Syrian and Lebanese news outlets reported the assassination. Its contents could not be independently verified.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the start of Syria's civil war in 2011.

Syrian scientist killed in apparent car-bomb attack