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Nuclear Last updated: July, 2015

A non-nuclear weapon state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) since 1969, and a proponent of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East, Syria has been suspected of harboring nuclear weapons ambitions.

While Damascus is currently known to possess only one small operational research reactor, the Chinese built SRR-1, it has consistently pursued more advanced nuclear technologies. The military has been a stakeholder in Syria's nuclear program since the 1970s, and Damascus has both openly and covertly sought the assistance of numerous parties, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea to develop its nuclear program.

Syria's nuclear program has come under significant international scrutiny since Israel's September 2007 airstrike on Al-Kibar (referred to as Dair Alzour in IAEA documents), where Israeli and U.S. officials allege Syria was constructing an undeclared plutonium production reactor with North Korean assistance. IAEA attempts to investigate the matter have been hindered by limited Syrian cooperation and the ongoing civil war. The IAEA has requested access to the SRR-1, a Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR), in Homs, and has repeatedly called for Syria to allow inspections of the Dair Alzour site and suspicious sites near the towns of Maysaf, Marjas-Sultan, and Iskandariyah. [1] Syria has not provided any new information regarding these locations of concern since 2012, and maintains that all are non-nuclear military facilities. [2] 

In February 2013, the Syrian government lost control of the Dair Alzour site to the Free Syrian Army. The Islamic State (IS) reportedly took control of the site from the Free Syrian Army in the summer of 2014. As of June 2015, there are unconfirmed reports that IS is excavating the site in an attempt to find radioactive materials. The whereabouts of Syria's supply of uranium is unknown, but it is not thought to be at the Dair Alzour site or in the possession of IS. [3]

Prior to the eruption of civil war in 2011 between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and a multifaceted opposition, analysts identified a number of factors that may have motivated Syria to pursue a covert nuclear weapons program in the late 1990s and early 2000s. [4] Such factors included Syria's adversarial relationship with neighboring Israel, the U.S. military presence in the region, and a perceived need to bolster regime legitimacy during a period of transition from Hafez al-Assad to his son Bashar al-Assad. [5] Due to the crippling effects of the ongoing civil war, however, it is highly unlikely that Syria currently has an active nuclear weapons program, however on 9 January 2015, reports alleged that Syria is still trying to develop nuclear weapons. According to "secret information" obtained by Spiegel Online, Syria has an underground nuclear facility near the town of al-Qasyr close to the Lebanese border. [6] Jane's previously identified the site as a possible weapons storage site for Hizbollah. In a 17 June 2015 CBRN Assessment, Jane's stated that satellite imagery of the site does not support the accusations that the site is a nuclear facility. [7]

Capabilities

The Atomic Energy Commission of Syria (AECS) directs Syria's limited nuclear program, and the majority of Syria's nuclear-related work takes place at the Der Al-Hadjar Nuclear Research Center and the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in Damascus. However, Syria is incapable of operating a large-scale program without significant external assistance. It has a weak industrial infrastructure, poor scientific capabilities, and lacks the trained engineers and other personnel needed to run a major civilian or weapons-oriented program. Syria's sole operational reactor, the Chinese-built 30KWt SRR-1 research reactor, is under IAEA safeguards. The SRR-1 yields only minute quantities of plutonium in its spent fuel, making it unsuitable for fissile material production, and its HEU fuel is insufficient in quantity for a nuclear weapon. Syria has not developed full nuclear fuel-cycle expertise and is not known to possess enrichment or reprocessing technologies. [8]

In May 2011, after years of investigations, the IAEA Director General's report to the Board concluded that the facility at Dair Alzour, destroyed by Israel in 2007, was "very likely a nuclear reactor" and should have been declared to the IAEA. [9] Based on the information and photographs provided to the IAEA by two states (presumably the United States and Israel), as well as the images procured by the Agency itself, the IAEA report stated that the dimensions of the building destroyed at Dair Alzour were "similar to the 25 MW(th) gas cooled graphite reactor at Yongbyon in the DPRK." [10] IAEA further estimated that "the reactor had 843 fuel channels and 79 access ports" and "may have had a thermal power of 25 MW or higher." [11] These findings point to a significantly more advanced nuclear capability in Syria than previously believed, and draw particular attention to illicit technology procurement and possible assistance from North Korea to the Syrian program. According to a Jane's CBRN Assessment, "it is not known whether Syria has conducted any work on weaponisation related activities, and its ability to produce the fuel for a reactor and to separate plutonium from irradiated fuels also remains unknown." [12]

History

The 1970s and 1980s: Decades of Disappointment
Syria was an early entrant to the NPT, signing the treaty in 1968 and ratifying it the following year. Compared to other Middle Eastern states, many of which commenced nuclear programs soon after U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1953 Atoms for Peace speech, Syria began its nuclear program quite late. Syria founded the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in the early 1970s, and only in 1976 did Damascus establish the AECS and declare its intention to pursue nuclear power. [13] The AECS began work on only six projects with the IAEA. Most significantly, Syria consulted with the IAEA regarding its nuclear options, resulting in an ambitious national plan to construct six 600 MWe reactors by the 1990s. [14]

Why did Damascus suddenly embark on a nuclear program in the 1970s? Is it possible that Syria's rapidly increasing domestic energy demand provided it with incentives to consider nuclear energy. However, Damascus may have been pursuing a hedging strategy, as it could no longer afford total military dependence on the Soviet Union. [15] The Soviet Union provided Syria with little support during its 1967 war with Israel, and had worked openly with the United States to end the 1973 war. Meanwhile, Damascus's principal adversary enjoyed reliable support from the United States throughout the decade. Given Syria's weak conventional forces, a nuclear weapons program may have seemed a viable option for achieving strategic parity with Israel. [16]

By the early 1980s Syria realized it was not capable of indigenously producing a single nuclear reactor, let alone six, and sought assistance from states such as the Soviet Union, Belgium, Switzerland and France to acquire a reactor. More than thirty firms bid on the proposed reactor, including at least one U.S. firm, but Syria ultimately chose the French firm Sofratome. Sofratome backed out of the agreement following feasibility studies, as the Syrians lacked the resources to finance the reactor. Frustrated, Syria again approached the Soviet Union in 1985, hoping its friendly relations with the superpower would translate into acquisition of a nuclear reactor. The negotiations yielded plans for construction of a 2 to 10MWt research reactor and an associated research center. Progress was slow due to financial disagreements and the project was retired while still in the design phase in 1991. [17]

1990-2007: Limited Progress
In 1990, Syria concluded a $100 million nuclear deal with Argentina. [18] The state-controlled National Institute of Applied Research (INVAP) agreed to provide Syria with a 10MWt research reactor, and Argentina's Comision Nacional de Energia Atomica (CNEA) was to provide the requisite uranium hexafluoride reactor fuel, enriched to a maximum of 20 percent U-235. The deal also included a radiological protection center and a hot cell lab for producing radioisotopes. [19] However, the Argentinean government vetoed the deal in 1995, stating that a special nuclear cooperation treaty with Syria was a prerequisite to the implementation of the deal. [20] Argentina allegedly received strong pressure from both the United States and Israel to block the deal. Guido Di Tella, then Argentina's Foreign Minister, publicly stated that he was aware of objections to the sale and that "not only do we have to judge that it is not interfering with the process or security, but both Israel and Syria must believe the same." [21] Similarly, India's offer to provide Syria with a 5MWt reactor was shelved in 1991 under significant U.S. pressure. [22]

Syrian nuclear ambitions finally met with limited success when China began constructing the SRR-1 research reactor in 1991 as a part of an IAEA technical assistance project. China also provided Syria with 980.4g of uranium enriched to 90.2% U-235 to fuel the reactor, intended to ensure operation for 2,000 hours per year for ten years. [23] Fuel depletion now limits current operation to only two hours per day. [24] The SRR-1 reactor is modeled after the Canadian Slowpoke 2 reactor and is used for neutron activation analysis (NAA), training, and small-scale radioisotope production. Syria concluded a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA in 1992 and the reactor went critical in 1996. [25]

Controversy surrounded Syrian nuclear intentions during the 1990s. As far back as 1991, Western officials, particularly from the United States and Israel, claimed China was working with Syria on weaponization projects. [26] Whether any of these allegations were true remains unclear, but they were often directly contradicted by open source reports from the U.S. intelligence community. For example, in 1996, John Deutch, who was then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, testified to the U.S. Senate that "Syria's nuclear research program is at a rudimentary level and appears to be aimed at peaceful uses at this time. It is subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. At present, we have no evidence that Syria has attempted to acquire fissile material." [27]

However, various members of the international community continued to worry about sensitive technology transfers to Syria. In 1998 for example, the intergovernmental Russia-Syria Commission on Trade and Scientific and Technical Cooperation signed a deal for the peaceful use of nuclear power, which included a desalination facility powered by a 25MW light-water reactor. The project did not progress and is likely to have collapsed under U.S. pressure, similarly to the Argentinean and Indian negotiations in the early 1990s. [28] In 2003, Syria signed a $2 billion nuclear deal with Russia that included a nuclear power plant and a nuclear seawater desalination facility. [29] The announcement of the deal was originally placed on the Russian Foreign Ministry website and received a considerable amount of negative attention. The Foreign Ministry spokesman quickly refuted claims that any such discussion had taken place. Currently, there is no known Russian-Syrian cooperation in the field of nuclear power. [30]

There was little open source basis for concern about a Syrian nuclear weapons program prior to the 2007 revelation of an alleged nuclear facility at Al-Kibar. However, Syria's other WMD endeavors, namely in the chemical weapons arena, led countries such as the United States to closely monitor its activities and oppose sensitive technology transfers. Furthermore, a 2004 CIA report found that Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan might have provided Syria with nuclear information and equipment. [31] According to a 2007 statement by President Bashar al-Assad, while Khan approached Syria in 2001 with an offer to provide it with nuclear equipment, he rejected the offer. [32]

2007-2012: Israeli Airstrike and Its Aftermath
On 6 September 2007, Israel destroyed a facility near the Euphrates River in the Northeastern region of Dair Alzour. Initially referred to as "Al-Kibar," the facility now known as Dair Alzour was alleged by U.S. and Israeli intelligence to have been a partially completed 25MWt gas-cooled graphite-moderated nuclear reactor, which would have been capable of producing enough plutonium for one or two weapons per year. [33] In his memoirs, former U.S. President George W. Bush claims that he turned down a request from Israeli Prime-Minister Ehud Olmert to conduct a strike on Dair Alzour. [34]

The strike precipitated a flurry of media interest and speculation; Israeli authorities maintained silence on the issue, while Syria claimed the site had been an unused military building. Problematically for IAEA inspections, and in a move that raised questions concerning whether it had something to hide, Syria leveled what remained of the Dair Alzour site and built over it only three days after the airstrike. In April 2008, U.S. intelligence released photos reportedly taken at the site prior to the airstrike, whose remarkable similarity to images of Yongbyon suggested to analysts that the facility had been a nuclear reactor developed with North Korean assistance. [35]

The IAEA was finally provided unrestricted access to the Dair Alzour site on 23 June 2008, which enabled inspectors to decipher its layout, dimensions, containment structures, and water-pumping infrastructure. In its subsequent report, the agency found that the containment structure and overall size of the building could be sufficient for a nuclear reactor, and the water pumping capacity was "adequate for a reactor size referred to in the allegations." [36] Inspectors also found natural uranium particles, which Syria claimed derived from Israeli munitions, an allegation swiftly denied by Israel and judged as low probability by the IAEA. [37]

However, the June 2008 visit ultimately raised as many questions as it answered. In November 2008, the IAEA Board of Governors sent letters to both Israel and Syria requesting more information on Dair Alzour. [38] The Agency also asked Syria for access to additional sites, which Syria had refused during the June 2008 inspection. Syria's February 2009 response reiterated that Dair Alzour had been a military site, and did not permit additional inspections. That same month the IAEA released a second report on Dair Alzour that did not produce new information about the site's infrastructure, but revealed that environmental samples had yielded additional traces of anthropogenic (or manmade) uranium and rejected Syrian claims that the uranium derived from dropped Israeli munitions. [39] The February 2009 report stated, "there is low probability that the uranium was introduced by the use of missiles," and it further indicates that the uranium particles were not of a type found in Syria's declared inventory. [40]

In March 2010, a physical inventory verification (PIV) was undertaken at the SRR-1, during which Syria provided information on previously unreported activities involving the conversion of yellowcake to uranyl nitrate. [41] Syria also submitted design information for the SRR-1 and other relevant documentation. [42] However, there continued to be inconsistencies between IAEA findings and the information provided by Syria, which promoted further discussions and the conclusion, in September 2010, of a plan of action to resolve the inconsistencies. On 1 April 2011, IAEA inspectors visited the Phosphoric Acid Pilot Plant and other related locations to take environmental samples and destructive analysis samples from the yellowcake by-product of the phosphoric acid production. The Agency then concluded that the results of its analysis were "not inconsistent" with Syria's explanation of the origin of anthropogenic uranium particles. The matter was thus moved to the "routine implementation of safeguards." [43]

Syria continued to insist that the destroyed facility was non-nuclear in nature and did not grant IAEA requests for access to: 1) technical documentation related to the construction at Dair Alzour; 2) locations where the debris from the building and equipment, along with remains of munitions were kept; and 3) the Dair Alzour site itself, along with "three other locations allegedly functionally related" to it. [44] In December 2010, The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) released satellite images of three sites reported by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and IAEA member states to be functionally related to Dair Alzour. They are situated near the cities of Maysaf, Marj as-Sultan, and Iskandariyah, and all three are located in naturally secure locations or have security elements visible in satellite imagery. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) alleged that the Marj as-Sultan facility is a uranium conversion site, while the Masyaf and Iskandariyah facilities are storage sites. [45]

While Damascus stonewalled the IAEA investigation, the United States and Israel provided the Agency with photographs allegedly taken at the site prior to and soon after its destruction, and the IAEA also procured commercial satellite and radar imagery to conduct its analysis. On the basis of this information, in May 2011, the Director General's report concluded that the destroyed facility at Dair Alzour "was very likely a nuclear reactor," asserting that Syria should have declared it and provided the Agency with design information pursuant to Code 3.1 of Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement. [46]

Following the report, at its June 2011 session, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution finding Syria in non-compliance with its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement, and reported the case to the UN Security Council. The Board called on Syria to respond without delay to the Agency's requests for information and access to the sites, materials, and individuals required for verification. The Board also called upon Syria to sign, bring into force, and fully implement the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA so that the Director General "can provide the necessary assurances regarding both the correctness and completeness of Syria's declarations pursuant to its Safeguards Agreement." [47] The resolution proved controversial, as it was tabled at the same time as European nations were pushing for a resolution at the UN Security Council condemning Syria's violation of human rights and violent response to pro-democracy demonstrations. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 17 in favor, 6 against, and 11 abstentions; one state did not take part in the vote. Debate on the issue briefly moved to the Security Council in July 2011, when a top IAEA safeguards official briefed the body on the Director General's report. [48] Both China and Russia, which voted against the IAEA Board of Governors resolution, subsequently opposed any action against Syria at the Security Council. At the time, diplomats said that the Council was not expected to revisit the issue until the IAEA issued its September 2011 report. [49]

The IAEA Director General's report, submitted to the Board on 23 November 2011, stated that a delegation from the Agency's Department of Safeguards visited Damascus in October 2011 to advance the Agency's verification mission in Syria. However, no progress was made in meetings with Syrian authorities on obtaining full access to other locations believed to be functionally related to the Dair Alzour site. [50] After the IAEA proposed further discussions in February 2012, Syria stated that it would provide a response at a later time due to the security situation in the country. [51] The Syria dossier was highlighted at the April 2013 NPT PrepCom, where Tom Countryman, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation, said that Syria's ongoing civil war "cannot be an excuse for not cooperating with the IAEA." [52] In June 2013, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security assessed Syria's security conditions, and the IAEA decided that any verification of the nuclear material would be postponed until security conditions improve. [53] The IAEA continues to monitor some locations via satellite imagery, including the MNSR yellowcake storage area in Homs. [54]

Recent Developments and Current Status

The unpredictable nature of the ongoing Syrian civil war continues to complicate the IAEA's attempts to access the Dair Alzour site. In February 2013, video footage released by Syrian rebels showed that the Free Syrian Army opposition, along with members from the Ja'far al-Tayyar brigade and the Al Nusra Front, had taken control of the Dair Alzour facility. [55] Reportedly, the Islamic State took over the site in the summer of 2014 and is excavating the site looking for radioactive material. The Institute for Science and International Security notes that, "there is no new information about Syria's supply of uranium that would have been used in the destroyed reactor, although it is not believed to be at the reactor site or in the hands of ISIL/Daesh." [56]

In statements to the IAEA Board of Governors and the 2015 NPT Review Conference parties, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano renewed his "call to Syria to cooperate fully with [the IAEA] in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations." [57] The Syrian government continues to deny that the Dair Alzour site was a nuclear facility and also maintains that the facilities at Marj as-Sultan, Masyaf, and Iskandariyah are non-nuclear military sites. The operational status of these sites is still unknown. [58]

On 9 January 2015, the German news source, Spiegel Online, published an article alleging that the Syrian government was still trying to develop nuclear weapons at a secret underground facility near the town of Al-Qasyr, close to the Lebanese border. [59] Jane's previously identified the site as a "possible weapons storage complex that could be used by the Lebanese militant group Hizbullah." [60] In a 17 June 2015 CBRN Assessment, Jane's stated that satellite imagery of the site does not support the accusations and there is "nothing to corroborate the claim that it contains either a reactor to produce weapons-grade plutonium or a uranium enrichment plant." [61]

Sources:
[1] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2013/41, August 28, 2013; "Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors," Statement by the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, June 8, 2015, www.iaea.org; "Statement to the 2015 Review Conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)," Statement by the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, April 27, 2015, www.iaea.org.
[2] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2013/41, August 28, 2013; "Nuclear, Syria: Production Capability," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, June 17, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com.
[3] David Albright, Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, and Sarah Burkhard, "Syria's Unresolved Nuclear Issues Reemerge in Wake of ISIL Advance and Ongoing Civil War," Institute for Science and International Security, June 30, 2015, www.isis-online.org.
[4] Leonard S. Spector and Deborah R. Berman, "The Syrian Nuclear Puzzle," in Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century: A Comparative Perspective, ed. William C. Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010), p. 101-128.
[5] Leonard S. Spector and Deborah R. Berman, "The Syrian Nuclear Puzzle," in Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century: A Comparative Perspective, ed. William C. Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010), p. 101-128.
[6] Erich Follath, "Assad's Secret: Evidence Points to Syrian Push for Nuclear Weapons," Spiegel Online, January 9, 2015, www.spiegel.de.
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[8] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, "Syria: Country Profile," www.sipri.org; Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London, UK: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), pp. 73-82; "Nuclear, Syria: Production Capability," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, June 17, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com.
[9] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2011/30, 24 May 2011.
[10] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2011/30, May 24, 2011.
[11] David Albright and Paul Brannan, "ISIS Report: The Al Kibar Reactor: Extraordinary Camouflage, Troubling Implications," Institute for Science and International Security, 12 May 2008, www.isis-online.org; Anthony Cordesman, "An Overview: Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction," Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2 June 2008, www.csis.org.
[12] "Nuclear, Syria: Production Capability," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, June 17, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com.
[13] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London, UK: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), pp. 73-82.
[14] For a list of IAEA-Syria technical cooperation projects see, Federation of American Scientists, "IAEA-TC Projects by Country," www.fas.org.
[15] Ellen Laipson, "Syria: Can the Myth Be Maintained Without Nukes?," in Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell B. Reiss, The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices, (Washington, DC: 2004), pp. 83-110.
[16] Ellen Laipson, "Syria: Can the Myth Be Maintained Without Nukes?," in Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell B. Reiss, The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices, (Washington, DC: 2004), pp. 83-110.
[17] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London, UK: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), pp. 73-82.
[18] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, "Syria: Country Profile," www.sipri.org
[19] Richard Kessler, "Argentina to Ink Research Reactor Deal Soon with Syria, Says CNEA," Nucleonics Week, 31 May 1990.
[20] David Makovsky, "Argentina: We won't sell reactor to Syria," Jerusalem Post, 24 July 1995, www.jpost.com.
[21] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London, UK: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), pp. 73-82.
[22] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, "Syria: Country Profile," www.sipri.org.
[23] International Atomic Energy Agency, "Syrian Arab Republic: Research Reactor Details-SRR-1," www.iaea.org; Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London, UK: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), pp. 73-82.
[24] International Atomic Energy Agency, "Syrian Arab Republic: Research Reactor Details-SRR-1," www.iaea.org.
[25] International Atomic Energy Agency, "Syrian Arab Republic: Research Reactor Details-SRR-1," www.iaea.org; Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London, UK: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), pp. 73-82.
[26] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London, UK: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 73.
[27] Testimony of John Deutch, Director Central Intelligence Agency, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Weapons Proliferation, 20 March 1996.
[28] Global Security, "What are Syria's Nuclear Capabilities?" www.globalsecurity.org.
[29] Jeremy M. Sharp, RL33487, "Syria: Background and U.S. Relations," Congressional Research Service, 1 May 2008, www.fas.org; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, "Syria: Country Profile," www.sipri.org.
[30] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick, (London, UK: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), pp. 73-82; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, "Syria: Country Profile," www.sipri.org.
[31] Bruno Tertrais, "Kahn's Nuclear Exports: Was There a State Strategy?," in Getting MAD: Nuclear Mutual Assured Destruction, Its Origins and Practice, (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2004) pp. 15-51.
[32] "Assad says in 2001 He Rejected Offer from Pakistani Smugglers to Buy Nukes," Jerusalem Post, 20 December 2007; Bruno Tertrais, "Kahn's Nuclear Exports: Was There a State Strategy?" in Getting MAD: Nuclear Mutual Assured Destruction, Its Origins and Practice, (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2004) pp. 15-51.
[33] IAEA Board of Governors, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," 19 November 2008, www.iaea.org.
[34] "George W. Bush considered military strike on Syria," Telegraph, 5 November 2010, www.telegraph.co.uk.
[35] David Albright and Paul Brannan, "ISIS Report: The Al Kibar Reactor: Extraordinary Camouflage, Troubling Implications," Institute for Science and International Security, 12 May 2008, www.isis-online.org; Anthony Cordesman, "An Overview: Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction," Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2 June 2008, www.csis.org.
[36] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, 19 February 2009, www.iaea.org.
[37] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, 19 February 2009, www.iaea.org.
[38] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, 19 February 2009, www.iaea.org.
[39] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, 19 February 2009, www.iaea.org.
[40] Julian Borger, "UN nuclear watchdog rejects Syrian excuses for uranium found," Guardian, 19 February 2009, www.guardian.co.uk; IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2009/9, 19 February 2009.
[41] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2010/29, 31 May 2010.
[42] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2010/29, 31 May 2010.
[43] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General, IAEA, GOV/2011/30, 24 May 2011.
[44] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2010/63, 23 November 2010.
[45] David Albright and Paul Brannan, "Satellite Image Shows Syrian Site Functionally Related to Al Kibar Reactor," ISIS Imagery Brief, Institute for Science and International Security, 1 December 2010; "Nuclear, Syria: Production Capability," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com; "Nuclear, Syria: Key Facts," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com.
[46] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2011/30, 24 May 2011.
[47] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2011/30, 24 May 2011.
[48] "IAEA Briefs U.N. Security Council on Syria Dispute," Global Security Newswire, 15 July 2011.
[49] "IAEA Briefs U.N. Security Council on Syria Dispute," Global Security Newswire, 15 July 2011.
[50] "Introductory Statement to Board of Governors," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, 17 November 2011, www.iaea.org; Peter Crail, "Syria Probe Still Stalled, IAEA Says," Arms Control Today, December 2011, www.armscontrol.org.
[51] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2012/42, August 30, 2012.
[52] Josh Rogin, "State Department: Syria must answer questions about secret nuclear program," The Cable, 30 April 2013.
[53] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2013/41, August 28, 2013.
[54] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2013/41, August 28, 2013.
[55] "Al-Kibar Plutonium Production Reactor - Syria," YouTube video, 5:40, Posted by Nuclear Threat Initiative, December 6, 2013, www.youtube.com; Khaled Yacoub Oweis, "Syrian opposition says capture former nuclear site," Reuters, February 24, 2013.
[56] David Albright, Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, and Sarah Burkhard, "Syria's Unresolved Nuclear Issues Reemerge in Wake of ISIL Advance and Ongoing Civil War," Institute for Science and International Security, June 30, 2015, www.isis-online.org.
[57] "Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors," Statement by the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, June 8, 2015, www.iaea.org; "Statement to the 2015 Review Conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)," Statement by the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, April 27, 2015, www.iaea.org.
[58] "Nuclear, Syria: Production Capability," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com.
[59] Erich Follath, "Assad's Secret: Evidence Points to Syrian Push for Nuclear Weapons," Spiegel Online, January 9, 2015, www.spiegel.de.
[60] "Nuclear, Syria: Key Facts," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com.
[61] "Nuclear, Syria: Key Facts," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com; "Nuclear, Syria: Proliferation," Jane's CBRN Assessments, IHS Global Limited, 2015, www.janes.ihs.com.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

Get the Facts on Syria

  • Found in noncompliance with its international safeguards obligations by the IAEA in June 2011
  • Acceded to Chemical Weapons Convention under pressure in 2013, following strong evidence the Assad regime had used chemical weapons against its own people during the ongoing civil war.
  • Received assistance from Russia, China, the DPRK and Iran for its ballistic missile program