Although not confirmed by Israel, there are reports out of Syria that Israeli warplanes bombed a Syrian chemical weapon facility outside of Damascus.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) reports that Israeli fighter jets slipped into Damascus over the weekend and bombed a chemical weapons depot outside the city.
Neither Damascus nor Jerusalem have yet confirmed the attack, according to UPI.
According to The Jewish Press (JP) "many" reports came in over the weekend confirming the mission. Sources told the JP Israeli jets arrived over Damascus early Saturday morning and circled Assad's presidential compound before moving on to target the weapons site.
The Israeli jets reportedly received fire but returned to base unscathed.
The Lebanese Daily Star confirms heavy FSA fighting occurred near the plant, the Scientific Studies and Research Center, but troops lacked the resources to breach the heavily fortified site.The reason for this would be to keep Syrian rebels, linked to Al Qaeda, from getting control of the stockpiles. Asthis article from JNS notes:
... reports indicate a mounting presence of Islamic terror groups within Syria’s rebel forces, complicating options for Western policymakers to address the Syrian civil war.
According to a report in the New York Times, Islamic groups have provided basic government and local services such as running bakeries, controlling power plants and providing medical services in rebel-controlled areas.
Local residents have grown to respect the Islamic groups who receive funding and weapons from sympathetic donors in the Arab Gulf states. As a result, Islamic commanders have risen up the Syrian rebel ranks, now controlling many positions in the rebel umbrella group, the Supreme Military Council.
The biggest concern for the West is a U.S.-designated foreign terror group, the Al-Nusra Front, which has direct ties to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and has pledged loyalty to Al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Another prominent terror group is Ahrar al-Sham, which is made up primarily of native Syrians.
“My sense is that there are no seculars,” Elizabeth O’Bagy of the Institute for the Study of War, who has recently interviewed several rebel commanders, told the New York Times.