Israeli military and government sources report Syria has positioned thousands of rockets on its border with Israel
Quoting three Israeli military and two government sources, the French news agency AFP reports the Syrian army has accelerated its deployment of medium and long-range rockets capable of striking major towns across northern Israel.
debkafile‘s sources note the timing of the unusual disclosure, the day before the Iraqi neighbors’ conference in Baghdad. It appears to be aimed at deterring Syria from being tempted into military action to ease the sense of isolation which the Baghdad meeting will tend to aggravate.
In its detailed report, AFP discloses that most of the Syrian rockets positioned on Israel’s border are 220 mm with a range of 70 km and 302 mm rockets with a reach of 100 km, AFP reports. The latter could reach Israel’s third largest port city of Haifa and its industries, as well as Tiberias and Kiryat Shemona.
Many are hidden in underground chambers and camouflaged silos. The Israeli sources said Syria had built a system of fortified underground tunnels along its border with Israel. They also believed Syria had deployed several FROG rocket launchers with a 550-kilogram warhead and 70-km range in areas between the border and the capital Damascus, 40 km away.
Syria concentrates most of its long-range surface missiles in the north. Its decision to bring them so close to the border may indicate that Damascus is seriously thinking of attacking Israel.
debkafile‘s military sources report that this redeployment indicates Syria is anticipating an Israeli response to a potential attack by moving tank and armored infantry across the border to strike the rocket formations. The FROG rockets would be used against this incursion.
AFP’s sources see the deployment as an indication that Damascus may be preparing for future “low intensity warfare.” The massive deployment of well-entrenched rockets poses “a real strategic threat” to Israel.
Those sources therefore rebut the low expectations of war with Syria this summer as voiced by Israel’s chief of staff and military intelligence chiefs on Feb. 25. At the time, debkafile‘s military experts challenged this evaluation and criticized Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi for reflecting the Olmert government minister’s political line which is one of unquestioning alignment with the current US-Saudi strategy regardless of Israel’s national interests.
A senior government official also told AFP: Israel has absolute superiority in several fields of warfare,” referring to advanced air force and “smart” weapons.
debkafile has reported that Russia was selling Syria thousands more advanced anti-tank missiles capable of piercing tank armor of the types which reached Hizballah from Syria in last year’s conflict.