Report: Syria Moves Missiles To Lebanese Border In Coordinated Effort To Thwart Possible NATO Militiary Strike
By Roi Kais, Reuters – “The Syrian army has moved new surface-to-air missile batteries to the Lebanese border, Arab media reported Friday. The report comes after Israel had warned it will strike Syria’s chemical facilities if President Bashar Assad transfers his chemical stockpile to Hezbollah.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he does not preclude the possibility of military intervention in Syria and Defense Minister Ehud Barak stressed that Israel will consider action.
On Thursday, a Lebanese defense official told the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Akhbar newspaper that the Syrians have shared some of the details of their deployment with the Lebanese. According to the source, the Syrians have devised a comprehensive military plan along the Lebanese border.
The London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat also addressed the deployment. A Lebanese military source told the paper there is no concrete information on the deployment of surface-to-air batteries on the border. He explained that the reinforcements were routine steps taken by the Syrian army in order to prevent the infiltration of gunmen from Lebanon into Syria.
He stressed there was no hostility between the two nations that would warrant the mobilization of anti-aircraft missiles. Asked whether the Syrian army is taking precautions for fear of a strike, he said that the deployment is done ‘according to a coordinated air defense plan. Assuming that the Syrians fear a NATO strike against them, Lebanon would not allow such a strike against Syria from its territory or airspace.’
Lebanese military expert Nizar Abdul Kader said, ‘The Syrian military reinforcements were meant to warn outside elements of mounting military intervention against the regime. The deployment of anti-aircraft missiles is a precaution against airstrikes that can harm the Syrian regime.’
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition members reported that two senior army officials have defected. One is Ahmed Tlas, head of military procurement at the interior ministry and the second is Mohammad al-Haj Ali, a military academy senior official.” Read more.