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State Dept. Acknowledges Soviet Missiles Are Deployed in Syria

January 20, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department has acknowledged that long-range Soviet-made SAM-5 anti-aircraft missiles are being “deployed” in Syria.

Department spokesman John Hughes said yesterday the U.S. has “expressed our concern to governments involved.” Although he refused to give any details, Hughes indicated that one of the governments to which concern was expressed was the Soviet Union.

Hughes said the introduction of new weapons into the region was “not conducive to peace in the area.” He said of the missiles, “We don’t like them.” There were indications that the U.S. has asked both the Soviet Union and the Syrians to remove the missiles.

The SAM-5 believed to have a range of 150-190 miles, could cover all of Lebanon and enter Israeli airspace.


Meanwhile, Syria was reported to have made its first official comment today on reports that it had acquired the sophisticated Soviet missiles. According to reports from Damascus, the state-run radio said that “even if one assumes that reports circulated by Israeli and American quarters” about the missiles are correct, “no one can feel concern over them except those who contemplate attacking Syria. It is the natural right of every state feeling a threat of aggression to possess defensive arms to defend itself and to repulse the pirates of the air and the criminals of war.”

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