Hezbollah has been moving long-range missiles from storage in war-ravaged Syria to Lebanon, an Israeli national security analyst told The New York Times on Thursday.
The missiles being moved include long-range Scud D missiles that can strike deep into Israel, short-range Scud C's, medium-range Iranian Fateh rockets, Iranian Fajr rockets and anti-aircraft weapons that are fired from the shoulder.
According to foreign reports, Israel has struck Lebanon-bound weapons convoys inside of Syria at least five times last year, to stop them from reaching Hezbollah.
Despite those alleged strikes, most of the long-range surface-to-surface missiles given to Hezbollah by Syria and Iran have been disassembled and moved to Lebanon, analyst Ronen Bergman said.
The Times also quotes a US official that said American intelligence analysts have also concluded that Hezbollah has been smuggling advanced Russian-made antiship missile system in parts from Syria to Lebanon, to avoid the Israeli strikes.
According to the American administration official, the Shi'ite organization could have as many as 12 Russian-made antiship cruise missile systems at its disposal.
But while the Lebanese movement smuggled at least some of the components of these systems into Lebanon within the last year, it still does not have all parts there.
Hezbollah has been using a network of bases in Syria to store the missiles, but as the civil war in the country continues to rage, the Shi'ite movement was forced to start moving the missiles out of the country, Bergman told the Times.
Israel has repeatedly warned that it is prepared to use force to prevent advanced weapons, particularly from Iran, reaching Hezbollah through Syria.
In January, reports emerged that Israel attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border, targeting a truck loaded with weapons, believed to be high-tech anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.
In May, Israel reportedly struck targets in Syria twice, hitting a military research facility at Jamraya near the capital Damascus, and a Damascus airport warehouse where Iranian surface-to-surface Fateh-10 missiles were guarded by the Iranian Quds Force and Hezbollah.
In July, the IAF allegedly struck a Syrian facility housing Russian surface-to-sea missiles in Latakia, but reportedly failed to destroy them all. American intelligence analysts quoted by the New York Times at the time said additional air strikes would be required to complete the job.
In October, Israel allegedly struck an air base in the Syrian port city of Latakia, targeting missiles and related equipment.