Syria accelerates the arming of Hezbollah....
More missiles, bigger missiles...
SYRIA has accelerated its supply of weapons, including advanced ballistic missiles, to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon in a move that could further inflame an already destabilised region.
According to intelligence sources in the West and the Middle East, the unrest facing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has not halted its build-up of military hardware.
With the help of experts from Iran and North Korea, Damascus is pressing ahead with its development of sophisticated missiles at a secret site nicknamed "missile city" built into Jabal Taqsis, a mountain near the opposition stronghold of Hama.
The missile program is allegedly run by the Scientific Studies and Research Centre in Damascus, an organisation that is already on a US sanctions list.
With financial and political support from Iran, the Syrians have also stepped up their military assistance to Hezbollah, which must now rank as the most powerful non-state military force in the world.
The Times reported last year that Hezbollah had taken delivery of two advanced Scud D surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 700km.
Since then, the Syrians have handed over eight more of the ballistic weapons, which have been assembled with the help of North Korean experts.
The projectiles, which carry one-tonne warheads, are accurate to within tens of metres and bring all of Israel, Jordan and large parts of Turkey within Hezbollah's range. Hezbollah has also been given M600s -- surface-to-surface missiles based on the Iranian Fateh-110 -- with a range of 250km and 500kg warheads.
"A new reality has dawned," an intelligence report seen by The Times said.
"This is the first time that a terror organisation has obtained a missile of this type, which . . . is considered 'strategic'. In the past, this type of missile has been held only by national armies."