Israeli media reported on Monday that Syria has acquired an array of advanced Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles as part of a military build-up ahead of a possible war. Syria currently has "the densest anti-aircraft deployment in the world," Israel's mass-selling Yediot Aharonot daily quoted a military source as saying.
"Syria has purchased from the Russians the world's most advanced surface-to-air missiles. This is the last word in plane interception technology.
"According to one estimate, the Syrians hold about 200 anti-aircraft batteries of different models... in an attempt to provide a response to the absolute superiority of the Israeli air force," the Tel Aviv-based daily said.
Army radio also reported that Syria has acquired advanced weapons, including chemical warheads for surface-to-surface missiles. Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has nevertheless refused to order the distribution of gas masks to civilians, fearing such a move would further escalate the heightened tensions between Israel and its northern neighbour, the report said, quoting sources in the military intelligence.