The highly-advanced S-400 air defense missiles will also eventually be evacuated from Syria, said high-ranking officials in Moscow on Wednesday, March 17, according to an exclusive debkafile report. But their presence for now is crucial in view of the continuing Saudi buildup of warplanes in Turkey, close to the Syrian border.
Our military sources disclose that the initial Saudi deployment of four warplanes to the Turkish air base of Incirlik earlier this month, has been expanded to sixteen, while Saudi officials declare that Riyadh and Ankara are preparing to intervene jointly in the Syrian conflict.
According to our sources, Turkish armored and infantry troops have already crossed the border and set up positions in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, just a few hundred meters inside the border.
The Russians infer from Turkish military movements that Ankara aims to establish enclaves inside Syria as no-fly or security zones, which Moscow has consistently opposed. The presence of the top-grade S-400 anti-air missiles in Syria is meant to obstruct this plan and discourage Turkish and Saudi aerial flights over Syria.
At the same time, the presence of the S-400 missiles close by is a worry for the Israeli Air force. The batteries, currently positioned at the Latakia base, would cover a broad stretch of air space over northern and central Israel if they were moved further south.
Full article: Russia to keep S-400 in Syria until Saudi warplanes leave Turkey (DEBKAfile)