- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
Syria deploys thousands of rockets on Israel border: sources
by Ron BoussoFri Mar 9, 4:50 AM ET
Syria has positioned on its border with Israel thousands of medium and long-range rockets capable of striking major towns across northern Israel, military and government sources told AFP.
This deployment, coupled with other recent reports of Syrian troop mobilisation, is seen in Israel as an indication that Damascus may be preparing for future "low intensity warfare," they said.
The report comes only two weeks after Israel held war games on the occupied Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, in a bid to learn the lessons of last summer's conflict in neighbouring south Lebanon.
The Syrian army accelerated its deployment of medium and long-range rockets in the wake of the Lebanon war, during which the Hezbollah militia fired moe than 4,000 rockets against northern Israel.
"We have noticed that in recent months Syria has deployed hundreds, possibly thousands, of medium and long-range rockets along the border (with Israel)," one military source said.
"Many of the rockets are hidden in underground chambers and in camouflaged silos, which make them very difficult to locate," the source said.
Three of the sources were from the military and two from the government, and they all spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity. They said Syria has built a system of fortified underground tunnels along its border with Israel.
Most of the rockets deployed are 220 millimetre, with a range of 70 kilometres (43 miles), and 302 millimetre rockets capable of striking targets at a distance of more than 100 kilometres (56 miles).
The latter would be well within range of the main population centres in northern Israel such as Tiberias and Kiryat Shmona.
These long-range rockets could also reach Israel's third largest city of Haifa and its industrial zone, which is home to several essential industries, including oil refineries and a deep-water port.
It is also believed that Syria has deployed several FROG rocket launchers, with a a 550-kilogram (1,200-pound) warhead and 70-kilometre range, in areas between the border and the capital Damascus, 40 kilometres (25 miles) away.
According to the sources, such a massive deployment of well entrenched rockets poses "a real strategic threat" to Israel.