Israel’s consecutive strikes in Syria over the weekend were aimed first at several Fateh-110 tactical missiles, which, according to a “Western intelligence source,” were on their way from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and second at the Jamraya military research center, north of Damascus, the Syrian government said. The strike was the latest reported this year in which Israel allegedly destroyed a convoy of weapons being transferred to Hezbollah, a close ally of both the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and Iran.
Fateh-110s are short-range ballistic missiles that, experts say, if fired from southern Lebanon could easily reach Tel Aviv, which has a population of around 410,000. Another Western official told the Associated Press Fateh-110s have guidance systems that are much more precise than anything else Hezbollah currently has stockpiled. Israeli military expert Uzi Rabin told Reuters Fateh missiles are better than SCUD missiles and carry half-ton warheads.
Fateh missiles (the word Fateh means “conqueror” in Farsi) also go by the name Mershad, according to the site MissileThreat.com. They have a range of 200-250 km (125-155 miles) and a high-explosive warhead that can weigh up to 1,100 pounds, which is almost double the explosive most SCUD missiles can carry, Defense-Update.com reports. They are 8.86 meters (29 feet) long.
Last year, it was thought that Iran was working on modifications to boost the rocket’s range to 400 km (250 miles). Israeli Homeland Security, an Israeli website dedicated to tech and weapons stories, reports that the Iranians have already developed a medium-range version of the Fateh. MissileThreat reports Fatehs are most adept at hitting large targets, like military bases or cities.
Iran, Syria and North Korea are all known to possess Fateh missiles. As of December 2012, there have been at least two incidents of the Syrian government using Fateh missiles, CNN reports.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the strike on Jamraya also destroyed a nearby ammunition depot. No deaths were reported.
Maya covers the U.N., Europe, and the Middle East for IBTimes. She joined the company in July 2012 after having previously worked with DNAinfo.com and Gawker.