Syria tests missiles bought from Russia

Israel Air Force chief Nehushtan's warns Israel needs to keep a vigilant eye on developments along the northern front.

IAF F15 fighter jet 311 (R) (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
IAF F15 fighter jet 311 (R)
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
The situation in Syria is unstable and the IDF needs to keep a vigilant eye on daily developments along the northern front, Israel Air Force head Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan said on Wednesday.
“We are following events in Syria all the time, because what happens there could impact the region,” Nehushtan said during a briefing at the Palmahim Air Force Base south of Rishon Lezion.
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On Wednesday, the Syrian military held exercises, which included a number of missile tests. During the maneuvers, Syria revealed, for the first time, the P-800 supersonic Yakhont anti-ship missile, which it bought from Russia last year.
Israel had lobbied Russia not to sell the missiles to Syria, but Moscow went ahead with the sale. Defense officials have said that missile would pose a serious threat to Israel Navy ships and that it was possible that Syria would transfer them to Hezbollah.
During the Second Lebanon War in July 2006, Hezbollah hit the Israel Navy’s Hanit missile ship with an Iranian-supplied surface-to-sea missile.
Israel is increasingly concerned that Syria will transfer advanced weaponry, such as long-range missiles and sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Hezbollah has been reported to be making efforts to get such weapons from Syria over concern that they could be lost if President Bashar Assad’s regime is toppled.
Summing up 2011, Nehushtan said the IAF carried out hundreds of air strikes, thousands of sorties and tens of thousands of flight hours, and that the Iron Dome counter-rocket system intercepted around 30 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.