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Scientific Studies and Research Center

Last Modified: Aug. 17, 2012
Other Name: SSRC; Centre D'Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS)[1]
Location: Damascus, Syria
Subordinate To: Scientific Research Council
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

Established in 1969, the stated goal of the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) is to advance and coordinate scientific activities in Syria.[2] The SSRC is considered to be the best-equipped research center in Syria, possessing better technical capacity and equipment than the four Syrian universities.[3] Although supposedly autonomous, Jane's Intelligence Services and other analysts believe the SSRC to be linked to the military establishment, where it is allegedly responsible for new research and development of nuclear, biological, chemical, and missile-related technology. [4] The SSRC also works with the Atomic Energy Commission of Syria, forming a nexus between the country's primary atomic, military, and scientific establishments.[5]

The SSRC's relationship with the Syrian army began in 1973, when a presidential directive officially authorized relations between the two organizations.[6] Following an October 1983 presidential decree, all SSRC departments received an upgrade to the status of research institutes, and the director-general received the rank of a minister. Most importantly, the directive stipulated that the chief of staff, President Assad, would appoint members to the board of the SSRC, as well as its technical staff. [7]

In 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13382: "Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and their Supporters," which placed the SSRC on the U.S. Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals list and prohibited U.S. citizens and residents from doing business with the SSRC. [8] In 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department froze the assets of other SSRC subsidiaries, listing SSRC as the "Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them."[9] The suspicions mostly revolved around the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles.

Sources:
[1] "Nuclear, Syria: Proliferation" Jane's CBRN Assessments, July 2, 2008, www.janes.com.
[2] Ellen Laipson, "Syria: Can the Myth Be Maintained without Nukes," in The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider their Nuclear Choices, eds. Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn, and Mitchell Reiss (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), p. 92; Magnus Normark, Anders Lindblad, Anders Norqvist, Bjorn Sandstrom, and Louise Waldenstrom "Syria and WMD: Incentives and Capabilities," FOI Swedish Defense Research Agency, June 2004, pp. 27-28, www2.foi.se.
[3] Ashraf Kraidy, "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Syria - National Study," Plan Bleu, Regional Activity Centre, Sophia Antipolis, March 2007, www.planbleu.org; Dany Shoham, "Guille, Gas and Germs: Syria's Ultimate Weapons," Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2002, www.meforum.org.
[4] Robert Sherman, "Syria's Special Weapons," Federation of American Scientists, 12 May 2000, www.fas.org; "Nuclear, Syria: Proliferation," Jane's CBRN Assessments, 2 July 2008, www.janes.com.
[5] Dany Shoham, "Guile, Gas and Germs: Syria's Ultimate Weapons," Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2002, www.meforum.org.
[6] Dany Shoham, "Guile, Gas and Germs: Syria's Ultimate Weapons," Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2002, www.meforum.org.
[7] Dany Shoham, "Guile, Gas and Germs: Syria's Ultimate Weapons," Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2002, www.meforum.org.
[8] "Executive order 13382 – Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and their Supporters," Federal Register, Vol. 70, No. 126, 1 July 2005, www.state.gov.
[9] U.S. Department of the Treasury, "Three Entities Targeted by Treasury for Supporting Syria's WMD Proliferation," 4 January 2007, www.treasury.gov.

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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.

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