Syria attack: Family of ’Syria chemical weapons chief’ living in UK | World | News


This weekend, allied forces launched airstrikes against three chemical weapons sites in Syria following a poison gas atrocity that killed at least 75 people.

Western allies say the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) is the hub of the Syrian programme.

The centre’s director-general, Amr Armanazi, is currently under sanctions by the US and EU for his alleged role in President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

His blacklisting means he is barred from entering Britain or other EU member states.

But that has not stopped members of his family gaining British passports and living in the UK.

His sons Zayn, 37, and 34-year-old Bisher are graduates of Imperial College London and now wealthy investment bankers in the City.

Their uncle Ghayth, 75, also lives in an affluent part of the city.

Last year, it was reported he owned at least two properties in wealthy west London – a £1.2m flat in Fulham and another in leafy West Kensington worth £1.5m.

Both sons also live in expensive west London property.

Bisher, who works for a City investment bank, has been living in a £700,000 flat in Putney, south west London.

And Zayd has lived in a £1.1m flat in West Kensington since he arrived in the UK in 2009.

He was a regular visitor to the UK before the Syrian civil war broke out.

Zayn was granted British citizenship in 2009 while Bisher and Ghayth did not acquire theirs until 2013, a year after Amr Armanazi’s blacklisting, the Sunday Times reported.

In a report on the SSRC, the US State Department said: “It also has a public civilian research function; however, its activities focus on the development of biological weapons, chemical weapons and missiles.

“During his tenure, Armanazi oversaw a facility that was involved in the production of sarin nerve agent.”

Mr Armanazi has denied any wrongdoing while his family have leapt to his defence.

Ghayth told the paper: “He handles just normal civilian operations. I’m aghast at what’s happening in Syria. It’s a dirty war.

“No one can absolve themselves. Responsibility has to be shared by a lot of parties, including the government.”

Zayn, meanwhile, has described previous chemical attacks in Syria as “a heinous crime” and Bisher said the civil war was “heartbreaking”.

It was unclear today whether the Scientific Studies and Research Centre had been targeted in Saturday’s airstrikes.

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