Israel concerned over Russia - Syria weapons deal
Israel voiced concern Friday about a potential Russian sale of advanced anti-tank weapon systems to Syria. The weapons in question are capable of ripping through the most modern armour and penetrating even bunkers, Israel's Yediot Aharonot newspaper warned.
The missiles have an effective range of six kilometres longer than the firing range of the most advanced tanks, and would pose a serious problem to Israeli tanks. Israel is concerned that if Russia sells the weapons system to Damascus then the rockets could end up in the hands of Hizbullah, the newspaper reported.
Army reserve general and former military intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi said the Russian arms sale was worth a billion dollars, which he said amounts to "at least one fifth of Syria's foreign exchange reserves."
"In Syria's estimation it is preparing for a war this summer initiated by Israel, not Syria, and so it is focusing on reinforcing its arsenal," the general told public radio.
Another Israeli official said the government was closely monitoring the situation with Syria. "Israel is closely following the situation with Syria, and the strengthening of its military capacities was discussed during the recent government meeting when we examined the intelligence service evaluations," the official said.