Satellite images reveal that the militant group Hezbollah is in possession of surface-to-surface missiles that are being stored at a clandestine weapons site in Syria while awaiting transport to Lebanon, the London Times reported Friday (see GSN, May 6).
The British newspaper viewed photographs of the arms depot, located close to the town of Adra, by security sources who said that the extremists were trafficking weaponry from Syria to Lebanon. The maker of the arms is thought to be either Syria or Iran.
“Hezbollah is allowed to operate this site freely,” a security source said. “They often move the arms in bad weather when Israeli satellites are unable to track them.”
Damascus has dismissed accusations from Jerusalem that it has supplied long-range missiles to Hezbollah.
Israeli and U.S. intelligence officials believe that two Scud missiles are stored in an underground bunker in Lebanon’s northern Bekaa Valley. A source said there were signs that the militants could be weighing sending the missiles back to Syria as the result of heightened attention.
All military depots in Syria are under the sole domain of the country’s armed forces, said Jihad Makdissi, spokesman for Damascus’ embassy to the United Kingdom.
“Syria and Israel remain in a state of war as long as Israel refuses to implement [U.N. Security Council] resolutions to end the occupation of Arab lands; therefore if these military depots really exist it would be for the exclusive use of the Syrian army to defend Syrian soil, and it is definitely nobody’s business,” Makdissi said.
Since the 2006 war in Lebanon, Hezbollah has been able to rebuilt its arms caches, according to the Times. The militants are believed to be in possession of more than 40,000 missiles and rockets that include Scud ballistic missiles, which have a range that would allow them to strike Israel’s largest cities (Richard Beeston,London Times, May 28).