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November 22, 2002

Syria helps Iran
arm Hezbollah
Rockets supplied for possible attacks on northern Israel

And another threat to Israel in the making
Syria is supplying Iranian-backed Hezbollah with hundreds of new short-range rockets for attacks on northern Israel, reports Geostrategy, the global intelligence news agency.

The rocket was first offered to Hezbollah nearly two years ago. It has a range of 75 kilometers and is said to be a product of Syria's defense industry.

Military sources say Syria's new rocket is not very accurate. Damascus has reportedly been working on improving the launcher and developing a more stable version.

''Syria is developing Hezbollah into a military force that can fight Israel from Lebanon,'' a senior Israeli military official said.

For nearly 20 years, Hezbollah has been armed and trained solely by Iran, while Syria provided the group a haven in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.

According to the report, this is the first time Syria has directly supplied Hezbollah with significant weaponry. It marks a new policy toward the Shi'ite group, which is on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations.

''This opens a potential second front against Israel in the north and also allows Syria to effectively use a proxy rather than fight us directly,'' said the official.