On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud
Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi met at the military's
Northern Command headquarters near the Lebanese border. The three men, on
the first anniversary of the conclusion of the 34-day war with Hizbullah,
received briefings on Syrian military preparations.
"I don't think it is in Syria's interest to start a war," Israeli Deputy
Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said. "It is not in our interests to start
war. This tension is unnecessary."
Military sources said Syria has been deploying short- and medium-range
missiles and rockets in southern and central Syria. They said the Assad
regime has been engaged in accelerated deployment of the Scud C and D
missiles, with ranges of 550 and 700 kilometers, respectively.
"There are more than 100 mobile Syrian launchers in the Golan Heights,"
a source said. "This means that within an hour, they can fire at least 400
missiles into Israel."
The Syrian military has also accelerated training in commando and
anti-tank weapons tactics. The sources said Syrian commando units have been
receiving Russian-origin AT-14 Kornet anti-tank missiles.
The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported that Syria has more than 200
anti-aircraft batteries in the south. The newspaper, quoting a senior
military source, said Damascus has received the latest anti-aircraft weapons
from Russian manufacturers in 2007.
The Syrian procurement included the Pantsir-S1 air defense system, also
ordered by the United Arab Emirates. Damascus has also upgraded its SA-3 and
SA-6 systems and plans to purchase the S-300.
The military sources said Iran plans to fund huge Syrian weapons
purchases over the next year. The sources said Damascus has already ordered
a large quantity of SAMs and anti-tank missiles, most of which have not been
"They will arrive over the next six to 12 months," a military source