SYRIA (OBSERVATORY) – A three-storey building, part of the scientific research center, has been turned into a large pile of rubble after it was targeted, authorities said.
Staff members who came to check their premises after hearing news of the bombing said they were working in the field of peaceful pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
After a central checkpoint of the regime forces, the campus of the Scientific Research Center, which extends over a large area and consists of blocks of buildings, offices and residential buildings, can be accessed.
Upon arriving at a hill at the end of the road, the smell of fire is heard and smoke poles rise from a building that has collapsed heavily, and in its courtyard, surrounded by a white stone wall, leaves, mugs and plastic puffs.
It is one of the buildings targeted by Western strikes at dawn Saturday according to the Syrian authorities. On the sidelines of a tour organized by the Syrian Ministry of Information, an AFP team on Saturday afternoon visited the Center for Scientific Studies and Research, which suspects Western capitals, most notably Washington, as a center for research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological technology.
In front of the destroyed building, whose walls are jammed and others are destroyed, Engineer Saeed Saeed, one of the center’s employees, smiles at the question of whether toxic gases are being produced at the site.
“If there was a chemical weapon in this place, we could not stand here now,” he told AFP.
“I’m standing here from 5:30 in the morning, and here I am with all my health.”
After the joint strikes carried out by Washington, Paris and London on the sites and facilities of Syria at dawn, in response to a chemical attack assumed in the city of Duma accused Damascus of its implementation, the Syrian army announced that the target location in Barza is the center of scientific research.
It said that the strikes led to the “destruction of a building containing a center of education and scientific laboratories.”
– Antiperspirants –
Said explains in detail the areas of work of the center, which he says he chairs one of his departments. “As we work in the field of pharmaceutical research and civil chemical industries, we would not have imagined that we would be targeted by this strike,” he told AFP.
He talks about the role of this center in “developing some drugs, especially cancer, and other anti-scorpion and snakes.”
The underground building and others above it were turned into rubble.
He expressed his regret for the destruction of the “highly sophisticated chemical analysis laboratory which was used to carry out the required analyzes in the fields of food, medicine and children’s toys.”
“The building is destroyed, but thank God without human beings, they were not here,” he says.
Over the past 45 minutes at dawn, explosions and sounds of warplanes flared in the skies of Damascus, coinciding with the announcement of Washington, Paris and London targeting military centers and installations near the capital and in the province of Homs (central), in response to a presumed chemical attack on 7 April in Duma .
US General Kenneth McKenzie said the operation was “accurate, comprehensive and effective” and would return the chemical weapons program of the Syrian regime years back.
These strikes preceded the start of the OPCW investigators working in Duma to investigate the alleged attack.
According to Yousef, the organization’s investigators have visited this center in recent years.
“They used the two rooms on the top floor, took samples, worked in our laboratories and cooperated fully with them,” he says.
“The organization has proved in two reports that this building, and the center as a whole, is free and does not make any chemical weapons,” he explains.