By Aaron Klein
Syria, aided by Russia and Iran, in recent months has been furiously acquiring rockets and missiles, including projectiles capable of hitting the entire state of Israel, according to Jordanian and Israeli security officials speaking to WND.
A Jordanian security official said one of the main reasons Damascus did not retaliate after Israel carried out its Sept. 6 airstrike inside Syria allegedly targeting a nascent nuclear facility was because Syria’s rocket infrastructure was not yet complete.
The official said after the Israeli airstrike, Syria picked up the pace of acquiring rockets and missiles, largely from Russia with Iranian backing, with the goal of completing its missile and rocket arsenal by the end of the year. The Jordanian official said Syria is aiming to possess enough projectiles to fire over 100 rockets into Israel per hour for a sustained period of time
The Syrians have three main goals, explained the Jordanian official. To maximize their antitank, antiaircraft and ballistic missile and rocket capabilities.
According to Israeli and Jordanian officials, Syria recently quietly struck a deal with Russia that allows Moscow to station submarines and warboats off Syrian ports. In exchange, Russia is supplying Syria with weaponry at lower costs, with some of the missiles and rockets being financed by Iran.
The Iranians opened an extended credit line with Russia for Syria with the purpose of arming Syria, said one Jordanian security official.
Russia’s involvement and strategic positioning is almost like a return to its Cold War stance, the official said.
Both the Israeli and Jordanian officials told WND large quantities of Syrian rockets and missiles are being stockpiled at Latakia, Syria’s main port on the Mediterranean Sea, as well as at Syria’s Tartus port, another major port area south of Latakia and north of Damascus.
Syria’s new acquisitions include Russia’s S-300 surface-to-air missile defense shield, which is similar to the U.S.-funded, Israeli engineered Arrow antimissile system currently deployed in Israel. The S-300 system is being run not by Syria but by Russian naval technicians who work from Syria’s ports, security officials said.
New ballistic missiles and rockets include Alexander rockets and a massive quantity of various Scud surface-to-surface missiles, including Scud B and D Scud missiles.
Israeli security officials noted Syria recently test-fired two Scud-D surface-to-surface missiles, which have a range of about 250 miles, covering most Israeli territory. The officials said the Syrian missile test was coordinated with Iran and is believed to have been successful. It is not known what type of warhead the missiles had.
In addition to longer range Scuds, Syria is in possession of shorter range missiles such as 220 millimeter and 305 millimeter rockets, some of which have been passed on to Hezbollah.
Israel has information Syria recently acquired and deployed Chinese-made C-802 missiles, which were successfully used against the Israeli navy during Israel’s war against the Lebanese Hezbollah militia this past July and August. The missiles were passed to Syria by Iran, Israeli security officials told WND.
Russia recently sold to Syria advanced anti-tank missiles similar to the projectiles that devastated Israeli tanks during the last Lebanon war, causing the highest number of Israeli troop casualties during the 34 days of military confrontations. Syria and Russia are negotiating the sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles.
Seemingly confirming the information, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset Syria’s military recently has accelerated its acquisition of arms. He did not list specific new weapons or disclose information about Russia’s involvement.
The military alliance between Damascus and Teheran has accelerated the arms race in the region, said Dagan at a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Dagan stated Syria’s moves do not necessarily indicate the country is likely to strike at Israel.