TEL AVIV (May. 13)
Syria is moving Soviet-mode surface-to-air (SAM) missiles into Lebanon and is reinforcing its anti-aircraft batteries there to deal with increasing Israeli air strikes against terrorist bases, according to a broadcast by the Christian Phalangist radio “Voice of Lebanon” in Beirut today. The broadcast said large Syrian convoys crossed the border overnight with the equipment to be deployed in the Bakaa Valley.
The report was not confirmed by either the Lebanese government or the commanders of the Syrian peacekeeping force in Lebanon. The Syrians have carried out a number of air patrol flights over Lebanon but these seem to be mainly of a demonstrative nature. The Syrian planes made no attempt to engage Israeli aircraft or to carry out raiding or buzzing missions.
Nevertheless, observers here recalled an article written several weeks ago by Gen. Chaim Herzog, Israel’s former Ambassador to the United Nations and former chief of military intelligence, who advised against repeated Israeli air strikes in Lebanon. Herzog warned that the strikes could give the Syrians a pretext for sending anti-aircraft missiles into Lebanon which would limit the Israeli Air Force’s freedom of activity.