Syrian scientist assassinated in vehicle bombing

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Asber died after an explosion targeted his auto in the Hama countryside, al-Watan said in an online report.

Israel frequently attacks military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats against Syrian government forces.

A senior Syrian scientist involved in the Assad regime's chemical weapons programme has been assassinated in central Syria, reports claimed on Saturday night. It includes the group formerly known as the Nusra Front, which served as al-Qaida's Syrian branch.

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The Abu Amara Brigades rebel group claimed responsibility in a statement posted on its Telegram channel, saying it it detonated "planted explosive devices" in Mr Asber's vehicle.

In April 2017, the Trump administration sanctioned hundreds of CERS employees following a chemical-weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops on the Syrian rebel-held city of Khan Sheikhoun that killed tens of civilians, including many children.

It says Israel is suspected of carrying out the attack.

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Asbar headed the research centre in Hama's Masyaf, which was targeted in Israeli air strikes last month and in September previous year, the Britain-based Observatory said. Israel has been carrying out strikes inside Syria to prevent advanced weapons transfers to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian government.

An Israeli air strike targeted the centre on July 22, Syrian state media and the Observatory said.

An Israeli government official declined to comment on reports of Asber's death when asked by the Reuters news agency.

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