The massive civilian uprising in Syria has not stopped Syrian President Bashar Assad from transferring ballistic missiles from storage sites in Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, the London Times reported Friday. The report says that despite the growing protests sweeping Syrian cities, the transfers have in fact increased in frequency in recent weeks.This is a very big deal.
Last year, Syria sent Hezbollah two Scud D missiles, each with the ability to deliver a payload of one metric ton. Hezbollah has received eight more such rockets since the beginning of this year, The Times reported. Each Scud D has a range of 700 kilometers, enabling Hezbollah to target any point in Israel and Jordan, as well as some parts of Turkey.
Hezbollah has also armed itself with M-600 missiles, which are based on the Fatah 110 model made by Iran. The M-600 is capable of hitting targets at a range of 250 kilometers, with a 500 kg payload.
“There is a new reality now,” The Times said. “This is the first time a terrorist organization has acquired weapons considered ‘strategic’. Until now, only the armed forces of countries were in possession of such weapons.”
But it is likely that the idea didn't come from Damascus but from Tehran. Assad doesn't have much incentive from his perspective to transfer weapons to Hezbollah now, but Iran wants to hedge its bets in the region as Assad's regime may be in real trouble from the increasing uprisings.
And now that Hezbollah effectively controls Lebanon, it makes sense that Iran will start arming it in a manner of arming a state.