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Syria Arms Transfer

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The United States condemns in the strongest terms the transfer of any arms from Syria to Hezbollah.

The United States has warned Syria for the fourth time in recent months not to transfer any arms to the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the transfer of any arms, and especially ballistic missile systems such as the SCUD, from Syria to Hezbollah," said Deputy U.S. State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid in a written statement.

"The transfer of these arms can only have a destabilizing effect on the region, and would pose an immediate threat to both the security of Israel and sovereignty of Lebanon. The risk of miscalculation that could result from this type of escalation," said Mr. Duguid, "should make Syria reverse the ill-conceived policy it has pursued in providing arms to Hezbollah."

The heightened tension and increased potential for conflict caused by arming Hezbollah is an impediment to the Mideast peace process. Israel remains wary of the Iranian- and Syrian-backed terrorist group that it fought a war with in 2006.

All states have an obligation under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1-7-0-1 to prevent the importation of any weapons into Lebanon except as authorized by the Lebanese government. So the notion of an outside country like Syria prospectively arming a militia inside of Lebanon is very clearly a threat to Lebanon's sovereignty. The United States is committed to supporting Lebanon, its sovereignty, and regional security and stability.

With Iranian support, Hezbollah has replenished its arsenal beyond levels it had in the 2006 war with Israel, according to a recent U.S. Defense Department report on Iran's military. Scud missiles in Hezbollah hands would have the potential to ignite another conflict the region cannot afford.

That's why the United States has called for an immediate cessation of any arms transfers to Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations in the region. Syria's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, said the State Department, is directly related to its support for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.