Overview

Syria has one of the largest ballistic missile arsenals in the Middle East and is an active proliferator of ballistic missile technology. Its arsenal consists of battlefield short-range ballistic missiles (BSRBM), short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM), and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM). Although Syria has imported nearly all of its missile technology from nations such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, it sustains a limited capacity to domestically produce and maintain its SRBM arsenal.

Syria’s pursuit of ballistic missiles originated during the Cold War to counter the superior conventional capabilities of the nation’s primary adversary, Israel. Starting in the 1970s, Syria obtained BSRBM from the Soviet Union. This outside assistance evolved, and in 1974, the Soviets provided Syria with a Scud-B SRBM. [1] The liquid-fueled Scud makes up the foundation of Syria’s ballistic missile arsenal, and the nation currently develops and maintains three different Scud variants. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Syria continued to advance its ballistic missile program with assistance from China, North Korea, and Iran. These nations provided Syria with new types of ballistic missiles, along with the capacity to domestically produce and maintain its own arsenal of Scud and M-600 SRBMs.

Syria’s current civil war has forced the nation’s government to exhaust its arsenal of ballistic missiles and freeze progress of its ballistic missile program. [2] Consequentially, the nation is unlikely to produce longer-range ballistic missiles anytime soon. The civil war in Syria has also increased the risk of ballistic missile proliferation to non-state actors, as many of Syria’s ballistic missiles have fallen into the hands of non-state actors operating in the country.

Syria’s Ballistic Missile Overview

Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs)

Model Propellant Deployment Warhead Type Country of Origin Range (Km)
Scud-B (SS-1C) Liquid Road-Mobile Conventional, nuclear, or Chemical The Soviet Union 300
Scud-C (Hwasong 6) Liquid Road-Mobile Conventional or Chemical North Korea 500-600
Scud-D (Scud-ER, Hwasong 7) Liquid Road-Mobile Conventional or Chemical North Korea 700
M-600 (Fateh A-110) Solid Road-Mobile Conventional, nuclear, or Chemical Iran 300

Sources:

[1] http://www.nti.org/learn/countries/syria/delivery-systems/

[2] http://www.reuters.com/article/mideast-crisis-syria-missiles-idUSL8N13D4M220151118

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