Syria conducted a successful test of the 600 kilometer-range Scud-D missile on September 23, according to Israeli officials. The Scud-D, which Syria acquired from North Korea, is capable of carrying conventional, nuclear, chemical and biological warheads.
The test demonstrates Syria's ability to strike targets in Israel from deep within Syria. Syrian officials have not made any comments regarding the test, which was detected by Israel's "Arrow" missile radar system, according to Israeli Chief of Staff Shul Mofaz. The test of the Syrian Scud comes less than two weeks after Israel conducted a successful test of the Arrow theater missile defense system, jointly developed with the United States. Israel's Chief of Staff pointed out that Arab states "are striving to achieve long-range missile ability, in some cases with the addition of non-conventional weaponry. That combination definitely constitutes a threat in the long term." Still, Israel reacted cautiously to the development. Prime Minister Barak called the successful test a "negative development."
The Scud test was conducted in the northeast region of Syria, which analysts have taken as a sign that Damascus chose not to make the missile test as provocative as it might have been. Deputy Defense Minsiter, Ephram Sneh, said that the test indicated Syria is "keeping and developing the military option." He added, however, "Not that it wasn't serious about sitting down with us [to negotiate]."
One former Israeli Air Force Major-General pointed out, "You don't have to panic. These missiles have been in the region for many years and they have been used…[the Israeli air force] has been…training itself and conforming its equipment to exactly this sort of thing. We don't need a test to know what is going on there. And we have been preparing for it."