The IDF has changed its operational assessment regarding the threat from Lebanon
and is currently working under the assumption that Hezbollah has obtained
sophisticated long-range surface-to-air missile systems from Syria, The Jerusalem
Post has learned.
According to Western intelligence assessments,
Hezbollah is believed to have taken advantage of the ongoing upheaval in Syria
to obtain advanced weapons systems, such as additional long-range rockets as
well as Russian-made air-defense systems.
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While Hezbollah is known to
have a large quantity of shoulder- launched anti-aircraft missiles, the IDF now
assumes that the Lebanese Islamist group has received the SA-8, a truck-mounted
Russian tactical surface- to-air missile system reported to have a range of 30
In addition to the possible transfer of air-defense systems,
Hezbollah is also believed to have received several dozen more M600 long-range
missiles, as well as additional 302 mm. Khaibar-1 rockets, which have a range of
about 100 kilometers.
It is already believed to have a significant
arsenal of M600s, which are manufactured in Syria as a clone of Iran’s Fateh-
110. The M600 has a range of around 300 kilometers. It can carry a half-ton
warhead and has superior accuracy.
Syria recently deployed some of the
more sophisticated air-defense systems it has received over the past year from
Russia, including the SA-17, an even more advanced system than the SA-8, with
longer ranges and greater accuracy. A number of batteries are believed to have
recently been declared operational in Syria, which has spent close to $2 billion
on air-defense systems in recent years.
As reported two weeks ago in the Post, Israel is particularly concerned with the
possibility that Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons will fall into terrorist
hands, amid predictions that President Bashar Assad’s regime will fall in the
coming months. This has not yet happened, though, and Syrian chemical warfare
facilities are understood to still be under the control of Assad’s
Syria has one of the most extensive chemical weapon arsenals in
the world, reportedly including sarin, VX and mustard gas.