U.S. says Syrians are building poison gas factory in Aleppo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States is investigating reports that Syria has begun construction on a poison gas factory less than 350 miles from Jerusalem.

According to the German newsmagazine Stern, the facility in the northwestern city of Aleppo is similar to the massive underground plant in Tarhunah, Libya. The United States has threatened to destroy the Libyan plant if it is made operational.

"For Israel, such a project is a nightmare," Stern's article on the plant noted.

With such a plant, it explained, "Syria would not need any long-range missiles to fire poison gas into the Jewish state."

State Department spokesman Glyn Davies said Tuesday that the report "raises questions in our minds, and we'll be looking into it."

He added that the United States had no previous indication that Syria has embarked on a program to build chemical weapons.

Stern reported that U.S. intelligence officials turned over information on the plant to the German government, believing a German businessmen might be assisting Syria in its construction.