The Middle East Newsline reports from Israeli military sources that Syria has deployed more than 1,000 missiles and rockets near the Jewish state.

Israeli officials said Syria has brought a range of medium- and long-range rockets that could strike northern and central Israel. They said the transfer of rockets and missiles from Syrian military bases began in September 2006.

“The Syrians have been very cautious and acted very quietly, but there is a new situation along their southern border,” an official said. “We have been asking UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] to become involved.”

The Syrian deployment was disclosed as defense ministers from Iran and Syria met in Damascus over the weekend. The state-owned media in Iran and Syria said the talks were meant to expand defense and military relations, including joint weapons production, and accelerate existing agreements.

“We are discussing with the Syrian side a host of matters including the transfer of weapons manufacturing technology and training,” Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Najar said on Saturday. “We are also discussing defense issues and political matters. We believe that Iran’s defense capabilities are at the disposal of Syria.”

Israeli officials said the number of rockets moved toward Israel was estimated at between 1,000 and 3,000. They said the weapons included 220 mm rockets, with a range of 43 miles, and 302 mm projectiles, with a range of 56 miles. The latter would be well within range of the main population centers in northern Israel, such as Tiberias and Kiryat Shmona. Both classes of rockets were fired by Hezbollah during the 34-day war in mid-2006.

The rockets and missiles were said to have been deployed along the Lebanese-Syrian border near Israel. Other Syrian weapons were stationed in the Syrian-controlled Golan Heights.

Officials said the deployment began with the stationing of Iranian and Syrian weapons in the Bekaa Valley. They said the Syrian military, with help from Iran and Hezbollah, deployed extended-range Katyusha-class rockets in bunkers and camouflaged positions.

Many of the rockets were also believed to have been transported across the border into Lebanon. Officials said Hezbollah has been storing the weapons in huge underground bunkers.

“We are seeing serious preparations for a war by Syria and Hezbollah,with massive help from Iran,” a military source said.

Israeli intelligence issued an official statement that there was no evidence of Syrian troops on the border. Israeli intelligence did deny, however, that there is massive new presence of missiles deployed on the Syrian border.

Bio Warfare From Syria Expected

The Middle East NewsLine, reporting from Washington, has confirmed from sources in the U.S. intelligence community that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad was developing an infrastructure for biological weapons production. Officials said Assad has advanced the BW program through help from China and North Korea.

“Syria’s biotechnical infrastructure is capable of supporting limited biological agent development,” Defense Intelligence Agency Director

Michael Maples said. “DIA assesses Syria has a program to develop select biological agents.”

Maples said Syria has sought to install biological and chemical warheads on its missile arsenal. He said the programs were meant to deter Israel’s conventional force superiority.

“Syria has had a chemical weapons program for many years and already has a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin, which can be delivered by aircraft or ballistic missiles,” Maples said.

U.S. officials said Syria has obtained missile assistance from China, Iran and North Korea. They said Damascus has strengthened ties with Tehran and regards it as a strategic asset.

The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Syria did not conclude major weapons deals in 2006. Instead, Syria conducted minor improvements to its conventional forces and purchased anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles from Russia.

“The Syrian military has focused its limited defense procurement dollars on low cost-high impact weapons such as anti-tank guided missiles, advanced tactical surface-to-air missiles like the SA-24, and upgrades to existing platforms,” Maples said.

This piece ran in the Philadelphia Bulletin on March 12th, 2007.


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.