Defiant Syria is upgrading its military capabilities (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 04/06/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Despite the ongoing internal unrest, Syria is continuing to upgrade
its military capabilities and recently declared a number of new
surface-to-air missile systems (SAMs) operational.
Over the past year, Syria has received a number of SA- 17 batteries
from Russia under a deal signed several years ago. Two batteries are
already reportedly operational and deployed along Syria’s border with
Lebanon. A third is undergoing training.
As a result, the IDF has modified the way it flies in the North and
particularly when conducting missions over Lebanon, where it
continues to fly to gather intelligence on Hezbollah activities.
Also known as the Buk System, the SA-17 has a range of about 30 km.
and can intercept multiple targets flying at altitudes of over 40,000
The launchers are mounted on trucks and are mobile, making them
Another system that recently became operational is the Yakhont anti-
ship missile which has the Israeli Navy concerned about the
possibility that it will also be transferred to Hezbollah ahead of a
future conflict. Syria already tested the Yakhnot in recent maneuvers
and it is said to be a sophisticated missile with a range of about
At least 10,000 people are believed to have been killed in Syria
since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began a year ago.
“The military is not overly affected by the resistance and is
continuing with its procurement plans as well as the integration of
new capabilities into operational service,” a senior IDF officer
In addition to establishing the new SAM batteries, Syria is also
believed to be in talks with Russia about upgrading some of its older
model combat aircraft with structural overhauls as well as the
installation of new avionics.
Syria is believed to have invested billions of dollars in the past 10
years in new SAMs aimed at undermining Israel’s ability to operate in
Syria or Lebanon in a future war. Israel fears that some of the
systems might make their way into Hezbollah hands in Lebanon such as
the SA-8 truckmounted system.
Israel is concerned with the increase in the transfer of weaponry
from Syria to Lebanon in recent months. Hezbollah is believed to have
obtained several dozen more M-600 long-range missiles, as well as
additional 302 mm. Khaibar-1 rockets, which have a range of about 100
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 km. It can carry a half-ton
warhead and has superior accuracy.
Israel’s primary concern is with the possibility that Hezbollah will
get its hands on some of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.
Western countries have prepared various contingency plans for such a
scenario, including the possible bombing of such a convoy if it were
detected and the possible insertion of commando forces to secure the
chemical stockpile if and when Assad falls. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 04/06/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY