Investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which works under the auspices of the United Nations, reported having found traces of enriched uranium in Syria, at Al Kibar, the same site which was allegedly bombed by IAF jets in September 2007.
The find offers a first potential sign that the country had been attempting to develop a nuclear program.
Sources close to Israeli intelligence agencies report that even if the uranium traces actually found at the bombed site were only slight, but clearly being man-made and not natural ore, they totally refute persistent claims by president Bashar Assad, that the installation at Al Kibar was only an agricultural research station. Moreover, foreign 'visitors', believed to be North Koreans, would have a single reason to be there and that was to inspect local construction work in progress on a nuclear reactor. Syria has repeatedly denied any secret actvity on energy for atomic bomb purposes in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It says the unverified US intelligence was fabricated. But the IAEA has been probing into US intelligence allegations that Syria was close to completing a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor with North Korean help.
In September 2007 the Israeli Air Force flattened the site in it's mysterious foray into Syrian airspace under the so-called operation 'Orchard', which was carried out on a target in the Deir ez Zor region, close to the Iraqi-Turkish border after midnight on September 6, 2007. Israel keeps an official blackout on the operation, but the CIA declared that US intelligence, having apparently monitored the site for some time, through satellite observation, indicated the site was a nuclear facility under construction, with a military purpose.For details see: Fulghum, David A 'U.S. Electronic Surveillance Monitored Israeli Attack On Syria', Aviation Week & Space Technology, 2007-11-21.
Photo: US official