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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Iran Delivered Missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria (MEMRI)

Kuwaiti Daily: Iran Delivered Missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria

The Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa recently reported that Iran has delivered missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria, and that Iran and Syria are cooperating closely in missile development and deployment. The following are excerpts of the article: [1]

"Two cargo aircraft landed on the morning of Wednesday, August 4, 2004, at one of the Syrian military airfields in north Damascus. There to greet the planes were Iranian Ambassador to Syria Riza Baqiri and Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mas'ud Idris."

Al-Siyassa also reported that "several Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers had arrived the previous day from their headquarters at a Hizbullah military camp near the town of Qasrbana in al-Buqa' in order to unload a significant number of surface-to-surface missiles."

According to information received from the Syrian opposition in London on Saturday, August 14, the missiles "are of the most recent and improved Iranian model, with a 250- to 350-kilometer range, with which it is possible to hit any target in Israel." The sources also reported to Al-Siyassa that the two deliveries comprised 220 missiles "that Iran had not so far supplied to any foreign entity…

"Over Thursday and Friday [August 12-13], the missiles were transported in civilian Syrian and Lebanese trucks to three Hizbullah military bases" in the regions of Jenta and Yahfufa near the Syrian border, as well as to southern Ba'albek.

The Syrian opposition said that according to information they claim to have received from a senior source in the Syrian military in Damascus, "the alert level of the Syrian missile corps, deployed mostly in the North and East of the country [i.e., Syria], has been raised to high after commanders in military intelligence and in the Ba'th party in Damascus received information about the possibility that the Israeli Air Force would attack the nuclear reactors in Iran via Jordanian, Iraqi, and Turkish skies."

It was also stated that in the event of such an Israeli attack, "Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon overseeing the deployment and maintenance of thousands of missiles of various ranges would fire these missiles at cities in the Hebrew state, which could expand the aerial attacks on the nuclear, chemical, and biological installations and uranium-enrichment plants in Iran, such that the attack would also include Syria and Lebanon." In the same article, Al-Siyassa reported that a "Syrian military source told the Syrian opposition in London that an Iranian military delegation specializing in missiles had accompanied the two deliveries to Syria, in order to oversee the deployment of the missiles in the various regions in Lebanon."