Eyes Directed Towards Syria

The radar of the Arrow system monitored missiles and rocket launched in Syria, and the batteries were ready to operate in case a launch trajectory deviated towards Israel
Scud missiles launched during the exercise Scud missiles launched during the exercise

The radar of the Arrow antimissile batteries followed the launch of the Scud missiles in Syria, in the framework of yesterday's large-scale military exercise. The radar immediately detected the launches and the batteries were ready to launch Arrow missiles, in case the trajectory of any of the missiles would endanger Israel's territory.

Yesterday, for the first time since the start of the Syrian uprising against the Assad regime, Assad's forces launched ballistic missiles, apparently Scud C missiles, Zilzal missiles, and long-range rockets with ranges of 200 to 250 km.

Syrian television showed the simultaneous launch of two Scud missiles, the launch a 220 mm rocket, the launch of a Zelzal rocket, and the launch of an M-600 rocket. This is the first time that Syria  fired rockets in the framework of its large-scale military maneuver, which began last week. According to assessments, Assad ordered the start of the maneuver as a show of force directed at the heads of the international community, who are continuously discussing increasing the diplomatic pressure on Syria.

Israel views Syria's surface-to-surface missiles as a significant threat. With assistance in the form of Iranian funding, Syria established a new, advanced layout for the development and production of surface-to-surface missiles intended to hit targets within Israel.

According to foreign sources, Syria established a ballistic missile base from which it would be possible to launch barrages of such missiles towards Israel. Its establishment is part of Syria's efforts to improve its military capabilities in the field of surface-to-surface missiles. Syria possesses an unclear quantity of Scud-C and Scud-D missiles, supplied to it by North Korea. Some of the missiles were produced by Syria with North Korean assistance. Syria has significantly invested in improving the missile, which is a close copy of the missile developed by the USSR, and has a range of approximately 700 km. The improvements focus on the engine, which is larger in size and possesses a greater quantity of liquid fuel. After leaving the atmosphere in the first phase of its flight towards the target, the improved missile engine cannot survive atmospheric reentry due to its size. Thus, the engine was designed to separate from the body of the missile, which carries a warhead weighing nearly half a ton.

According to experts, the Scud-D has a maximum range of approximately 300 km, which Syria will be able to launch towards Israel from the depth of its territory. The missile possesses a precision of nearly 1 km. Syria has a large quantity of Scud-A missiles, with ranges of 180 km, as well as Scud-B missiles with ranges of 300 km. It also possesses a very large quantity of Scud-C missiles, with ranges of up to 550 km.

Syria also has an unknown quantity of chemical warheads that can be installed on some of its Scud missiles. Syria's missile arsenal is directly tied to the stockpile of chemical weapons at its disposal. There have been concerns since the start of the Syrian civil war that this stockpile might fall into the wrong hands and find its way beyond their borders. The country possesses stockpiles of various chemical warfare substances, and according to assessments, it has already filled these substances in warheads for its scud missiles.

Chemical warheads are divided into two types: warheads containing one substance, and warheads containing two substances. The first type generally includes VX gas and types of material from the same chemical group that result in severe burns and breathing difficulties. The second group consists of two materials, whose mixture results in a chemical reaction, and usually includes GF or Sarin gas, both of which are lethal.

In order for the warhead to achieve the largest possible effect, the substance is dispersed at a height of several hundred meters above ground. For this purpose, it is equipped with a height-sensitive device that can be programmed to detonate a small explosive charge once the missile reaches a specific height. This first explosion results in a chemical substance cloud that disperses particles over a large area.

While the assembly of a chemical warhead is not a great technological accomplishment, the storage and operation of such a warhead requires a considerable amount of skill. Improper storage can result in disasters where the warhead is stored. In addition, some of the chemical substances possess qualities that corrode metal, which can damage the impermeability of containers holding the substances inside the warhead. The assembly of the missile and its launch preparation also greatly determines results.

According to intelligence information, Syria also possesses a large quantity of biological warfare materials.

**Tal Inbar assisted in gathering information for this report