Janes Defence Weekley has reported that a blast on a military base in Syria killed 15 Syrian soldiers and up to 30 Iranian advisors. Apparently, the blast in Allepo, northern Syria, also included war heads chocked full of mustard gas and Serin.

LONDON (AFP) — Iranian engineers were among those killed in a blast at a secret Syrian military installation two months ago, defence group Jane’s said Wednesday after claiming that the base was being used to develop chemical weapons.

The July 26 explosion in Aleppo, northern Syria, was reported at the time. The official Sana news agency said 15 Syrian military personnel were killed and 50 people were injured, most of them slightly from flying glass.

The agency said only that “very explosive products” blew up after fire broke out at the facility and that the blaze was not an act of sabotage.

But in the September 26 edition of Jane’s Defence Weekly, Syrian defence sources were quoted as saying the explosion happened during tests to weaponise a Scud C missile with mustard gas, which is banned under international law.

Fuel caught fire in a missile production laboratory and “dispersed chemical agents (including VX and Sarin nerve agents and mustard blister agent) across the storage facility and outside.

“Other Iranian engineers were seriously injured with chemical burns to exposed body parts not protected by safety overalls,” the publication quoted the sources as saying.

Among the dead were “dozens” of Iranian missile weaponisation engineers, it added.

….

Jane’s said the regime in Damascus has since imposed a media black-out on the blast and had “destroyed” evidence that base was being used as a missile production site with Iranian help.

It also questioned the government’s claim that the explosion occurred because of a sudden rise in the ambient air temperature that caused a chemical reaction of sensitive and highly volatile substances.

One of its sources described the explanation as “implausible” because the blast happened at about 4:30 am, two hours before sunrise when temperatures were cool.

The article also quoted Syrian opposition sources as noting that vehicles destined for car bomb attacks in Iraq are prepared at the same facility under the supervision of Syrian intelligence and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Jane’s assessed that the incident confirmed information that the two countries have been involved in developing chemical weapons for more than two years under a strategic co-operation agreement.

It said Iran helped Syria in the planning, establishment and management of five facilities designed to develop chemical weapons on an industrial scale.

An Iranian chemical manufacturer, whose identity Jane’s said it knows and with connections to the Islamic republic’s defence industry, and a Syrian firm with links to the military have made a number of deals since 2004.

One of Jane’s sources said they involved the importation of “hundreds of tonnes of sodium sulphide, hydrochloric acid and ethylene glycol-MEG from Iran” which can be used to produce mustard gas and Sarin.

AFP Story here.

And in case you really aren’t convinced that the nice Iranians are really the bad guys, Fox reports that the US has just captured a top-ranking Iranian Officer in Iraq trying to smuggle arms:

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — An Iranian officer accused of smuggling powerful roadside bombs into Iraq was arrested Thursday in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

The arrest could add to tensions between Washington and Tehran already strained by the detention of each other’s citizens as well as U.S. accusations of Iranian involvement in Iraq’s violence and Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

The military said the suspect was a member of the Quds force — an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards — and was seized from a hotel in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah.

Two other Iranians were detained in the raid but later released, a Kurdish official said.

The Iranian officer was allegedly involved in transporting roadside bombs, including armor-piercing explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, into Iraq, according to a military statement. It said intelligence reports also indicated he was involved in the infiltration and training of foreign fighters in Iraq.

Officials have said the Bush administration is expected to soon blacklist the Quds force as a terrorist organization, subjecting part of Iran’s vast military operation to financial sanctions. The move would be in response to Iranian actions in Iraq and elsewhere.

Fox story here.

It seems that everyone except the UN and Move-On.org knows there is a problem over there, and it wasn’t caused by the US. See the posting below about the “response” that Iran wants to visit upon Israel and its allies at the end of Ramadan.