Syria Has Used 90 Percent of Its Ballistic Missiles, Says Israeli Official

While most were used against rebels in the civil war, a number of the missiles were transferred to Hezbollah, who has been building up its arsenal since 2006.

Lebanon's Hezbollah members and supporters attend the funeral of three fighters who were killed while fighting alongside the Syrian army, October 27, 2015.
Reuters

REUTERS - Syria has used up over 90 percent of its ballistic missiles against rebels during more than four year of civil war, but a few were transferred to Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon, a senior Israeli military officer said on Wednesday.

Israel, which is expanding its high-altitude Arrow air defence system with U.S. help, has been keeping an eye on Syria's Scud-type missiles as well as Iran's long-range Shehabs as potential threats.

"The number of (Syrian) ballistic missiles left is less than 10 percent," a senior Israeli officer told Reuters on condition of anonmity, but added: "That could still change. They could start making them again."

Syrian opposition activists say Damascus' army has fired dozens of devastating Scud-type missiles at rebel-held areas, out of a ballistic arsenal believed to have numbered in the hundreds before the insurgency erupted in 2011.

Israel had a stable standoff with Syria's ruling Assad family for decades. It sees little chance of the now fractured Arab neighbor going to war with it now, but is still on guard for any accidental cross-border launches or deliberate attacks by jihadi rebels.

The Israelis are more worried about Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which fought their superior military to a standstill in a 2006 Lebanon war and has been building up its arsenal.

Hezbollah now has more than 100,000 rockets, including "around 10" advanced Scud-D missiles with conventional warheads supplied by Syria, the senior Israeli military officer said.

Hezbollah does not comment publicly on its military capabilities but has confirmed improving them since 2006.