July 2007 Syrian arms depot explosion

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The July 2007 Syrian arms depot explosion was a blast in July 2007 at a Syrian military depot. Syria said the explosion was the accidental detonation of an ammunition dump, but later reports suggested it was the result of a Syrian chemical weapons experiment.

Official version[edit]

The explosion happened in Musalmiya, a city in northern Syria near Aleppo, on July 26, 2007. Officials said that high summer temperatures of up to 50°C set off explosive materials at a military base, causing ammunition dump to explode. Fifteen soldiers were reported killed, (as well as reports of 10 Iranians),[1] and 50 were wounded; Syria said the blast was "not the result of sabotage." [2]

Skepticism[edit]

Jane's Defence Weekly published an article in September 2007 explaining purported inaccuracies in the Syrian account. They wrote that the explosion happened at 4.30 am, the coolest time of the day, when temperatures would not have reached 50°C. They also reported that the site was a secret weapons complex rather than an arms dump.

Instead of high temperatures, the explosion was caused when fuel caught fire in a laboratory as Syrian and Iranian engineers attempted to load a mustard gas warhead onto a Scud-C missile.[3] Fifteen Syrian military personnel and "dozens" of Iranian engineers died in the explosion, Jane's reported. The blast also sent a chemical cloud of mustard gas as well as Sarin and VX nerve gas across the facility.[4]

Syria is believed to have an active chemical weapons program[5] as well as several hundred Scud missiles. [6]

The reports coincided with speculation about the Israeli air strike on Syria earlier in September 2007, which was reported to have targeted a nuclear facility.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Spies Inside Damascus Foreign Policy Magazine, BY RONEN BERGMAN, SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
  2. ^ "Middle East | Deadly blast at Syrian arms depot". BBC News. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  3. ^ http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20071021/ai_n21061036
  4. ^ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2489930.ece
  5. ^ John Pike. "Chemical Weapons - Syria". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  6. ^ John Pike. "Missile Programs - Syria". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2013-09-05.