Photos point to second Syrian nuclear site

By David Edwards
Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:31 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Satellite photos published by a Washington think tank on Wednesday appear to show Syrian efforts to conceal a second suspected nuclear site allegedly linked to a reactor bombed by Israel in 2007.

The photos acquired by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) indicate Syria tried to cover up its nuclear activities after the air raid, and could lead the UN nuclear watchdog to step up demands for inspections.

The photos show heightened activity and the pouring of a concrete foundation around the site near Marj as Sultan, outside Damascus, shortly after a May 2008 request for inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“The facility?s operational status is unknown. However, there is suspicion that Syria may have emptied the buildings prior to mid-2008 and taken steps to disguise previous activities at the site,” the ISIS report said.

“Laying down a new foundation could be an attempt to defeat the environmental sampling that IAEA inspectors would likely carry out to see if uranium was present in the event of a visit to these suspect sites.”

Citing the IAEA and the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, ISIS said the Marj as Sultan facility was one of three sites that were “functionally related” to the bombed reactor at Dair Alzour, in the east of the country.

The full report is online at www.isis-online.org

Syria has snubbed a request by the UN nuclear watchdog for prompt access to a number of sites, and could come under heightened scrutiny at the Vienna-based IAEA’s meeting next month, diplomats told AFP last week.

Damascus granted UN inspectors one-off access to Dair Alzour in June 2008 but no follow-up visits there or access to the other allegedly related sites.

On the basis of that one visit, the IAEA has already said the building bore some of the characteristics of a nuclear facility.

UN inspectors also detected “significant” traces of man-made uranium there, as yet unexplained by Damascus.
Syria has denied it is hindering the IAEA’s work, and President Bashar al-Assad denied his country had pursued a nuclear program in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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  • Anonymous

    Thats it . Those satellite fotos by an UN – NAMED Washington “THINK -TANK” and reported by no less than the WSJ means that its time for Israel to very, very seriously consider using ONE OF ITS 200 NUCLEAR WAR HEADS TO TAKE IT.OUT.

    SARCASTICALLY SPEAKING who the hell to these Syrians think they are threatening the USA’s only friend in the world?

  • K7KTR

    Humm, No mention of Israels Nuclear Site or Inspectors and IAEA being allowed access to that information. Even Google reduces it’s image quality over Israels Nuclear site. What is good for (ONE) is good for all. US and Russia appear to be working together, Other nations too should all have to declare what they Have and Have Not. Like Iran, If it took you 10 years to make 1 Bomb, Your not going to waste that ONLY BOMB. Not when it is rumored that Israel has over 300 Nuclear warheads. This is why Nuclear Bomb are DUMB, People actually think you can win a Nuclear War.

  • K7KTR

    Not to be an ass, But in this world we have been fed many lies in the last 10 years. I am NOT Anti-Israel I am more for Peace. But it takes two at the table to shake hands and agree. If you have a chance, I would suggest going to the English Side of Aljazeera.net. Find the section on the “Palestine Papers” and please read them. The information was confirmed to be True from another Wikileaks release.
    Then if you go to wikipedia and read the account of the U.S.S. Liberty. You will have a better understanding of Israel. There are many Free Documentaries on Israel and Palestine area. You would not believe how many Reporters have been shot in the head from Israeli Snipers that are trying to document the real life of what is going on in that area. 130 Members of the UN have tried to stop Israel’s campaign of moving it’s borders and Bulldozing People and Towns into the dust. These are War Crimes.
    In Gaza alone 1400 lost their lives, Mainly women and children. If your attitude is, They are Muslim’s then you have sadly been brain washed. Christian’s don’t do that to others and if you think it is OK? Then please burn your Bible.
    Have a nice day.

  • Anonymous

    Your comments do not strike one as coming from an ass. You are correct in all your statements.The problem as I see it is that many Chrisitans are dedicated to supportin Israel no matter what. Mike Huckabee one the announced candiate for President hjas been of close to 24 freebi trps to Israel. Sever;a of the Christian pastors on tv. ai;ly proclaimtheir allegiance to Israel, Until we individaully and collectively follow Christs teachins the OS will loe its soul yo the Israelis.