Syria Test-Fires Missiles

(New York Times) Steven Erlanger - Syria test-fired three Scud missiles on May 27, including one that broke up over Turkey - a member of NATO - and showered missile parts down onto unsuspecting Turkish farmers, Israeli military officials revealed Thursday. The Israelis have film of the launching and breakup. These were the first such Syrian missile tests since 2001, and were part of a Syrian missile development project using North Korean technology and designed to deliver air-burst chemical weapons. The missiles included one Scud B with a range of 185 miles, and two Scud Ds with a range of 435 miles. Israeli military officials said they interpreted the launchings as a gesture of defiance to the U.S. and UN by Syrian president Bashir al-Assad. "This is really putting your fingers in the eyes of the Americans, saying, 'I'm not dancing to your flute,'" a senior Israeli military official said. "The tests are probably needed for the missile project, but this is Bashir taking a risk here and sending a message." Syria harbors the leadership of the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad and helps them, as well as the Iranian-sponsored Hizballah, with money, arms, and sponsorship. "The message from Syria to the Palestinians is not to stop shooting," a senior Israeli official said.

2005-06-03 00:00:00

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