Russia to supply S-300 air defense system to Syria

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Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov speaks to the media next to a graphic of an incident in which a Russian warplane was shot down by a Syrian air defense unit last week. Photo: Grab from video released by Defense Ministry / Sputnik /AFP

 

The move comes despite opposition from Israel, which carries out regular airstrikes against Hezbollah in Syria

Syria’s armed forces, long dependent on outdated S-200 air defenses, will now receive the modern S-300 system, Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced on Monday.

Russia’s decision comes one week after its Syrian allies, responding to an Israeli air raid on the coastal province of Latakia, mistakenly targeted a Russian Ilyushin-20 plane, killing the 15 military personnel on board.

Israel said its F-16s had already returned to Israeli airspace by the time the Russian craft was downed and blamed Syria’s armed forces for indiscriminate fire.

But Moscow insisted the Syrians had no capability to determine which plane was friend or foe with their outdated Soviet system.

Israel, which carries out regular strikes in Syria targeting the militant group Hezbollah, is staunchly opposed to the upgrading of Syria’s air defenses.

Syrian servicemen have already undergone training to operate the S-300 system, Russia’s defense minister said on Monday, suggesting the latest incident was the last straw needed to transfer the system to its ally.

The decision, he said, was approved by President Vladimir Putin.

Full article: Russia to supply S-300 air defense system to Syria (Asia Times)

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