Syria has used over 90 percent of its ballistic missile arsenal over the five-year civil war on fighting opposition rebels but some missiles have made their way to Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to a senior Israeli military source.
“The number of (Syrian) ballistic missiles left is less than 10 percent,” a senior IDF officer told Reuters on Wednesday. “That could still change. They could start making them again,” he added.
Syrian opposition fighters say Syrian President Bashar Assad has fired dozens of the scud-type missiles on rebel strongholds since the armed insurgency against government forces began in 2011.
Israel has been keeping a close eye on Hezbollah’s missile capability and weapons transfers from Syria and Iran to the terror group.
Israeli officials say they consider the transfer of advanced weapons to the group to be a red line; a number of airstrikes in Syria over the past several years have been attributed to Israeli efforts to stymie the movement of missiles.
Jerusalem has not openly admitted to being behind such operations. It has, however, warned that it will not permit the Lebanon-based terror group to obtain what it calls “game-changing” advanced weaponry.
Last week, Israeli officials said that Hezbollah, a longtime ally of the Assad regime, had amassed around 150,000 rockets, including a number of long-range Iranian-made missiles.
The estimate suggests Hezbollah is ramping up efforts to acquire weapons with which to attack Israel, despite its deep involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Hezbollah forces have been operating in Syrian territory for over three and a half years. Thousands of the organization’s fighters are thought to be on Syrian soil and hundreds, some say thousands, have been killed there, including at least one senior officer.
The group fought a three-week war with Israel in 2006 that saw thousands of rockets pound Israel’s north.
Despite the assessment of increased weapons stockpiles, the prevailing view in Israel is that Hezbollah is not interested in a new confrontation or a war now.
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