Syria Arming Hizbullah with More Missiles

(The Australian) Richard Beeston, Nicholas Blanford and Sheera Frenkel - With the help of experts from Iran and North Korea, Damascus is pressing ahead with its development of sophisticated missiles at a secret site built into Jabal Taqsis, a mountain near the opposition stronghold of Hama. The missile program is run by the Scientific Studies and Research Center in Damascus, which is on a U.S. sanctions list. The Times reported last year that Hizbullah had taken delivery of two advanced Scud D surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 700 km. Since then, the Syrians have handed over eight more of the ballistic weapons, which have been assembled with the help of North Korean experts. The projectiles, which carry one-ton warheads, are accurate to within tens of meters and bring all of Israel, Jordan and large parts of Turkey within Hizbullah's range. Hizbullah also has M600 missiles based on the Iranian Fateh-110 - with a range of 250 km and 500 kg warheads. Sources close to Hizbullah said the flow of weapons entering the Bekaa Valley from Syria had accelerated in March when protests erupted against the Assad regime. One Hizbullah fighter joked that the scale of the arms shipments into Lebanon was so great that "we don't know where to put it all." An Israeli military intelligence source said, "Now that they see Syria as possibly unstable, we are seeing the movement of a lot of weapons into Lebanon."

2011-07-18 00:00:00

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