Russian Federation to provide Syria with new S-300 air defence missiles

Clay Curtis
September 25, 2018

Shoigu said the new system will "significantly increase" the Syrian army's combat capabilities. Last week, using older S-200 surface-to-air missile defences, Syrian air defence forces accidentally shot down a Russian Il-20 electronic intelligence plane during an Israeli missile attack.

The Russian IL-20 found itself, according to the Russian Ministry of Defence, caught in the crossfire. "The party responsible for the attacks in Syria and Lebanon and really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran", he said.

Russia announced Monday it will supply Syria's government with sophisticated S-300 air defence systems after last week's downing of a Russian plane by Syria forces responding to an Israeli air strike, a friendly fire incident that stoked regional tensions.

Israel regularly carries out strikes in Syria against Assad's government, its Lebanese ally Hezbollah and Iranian targets.

The Israeli military has denied responsibility for the downing of the Russian jet, insisting Sunday that Israeli jets did not hide behind other aircraft and that they were in Israeli airspace when the Russian plane was downed.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he expected to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in NY as Washington expressed concern at Moscow's plans to supply the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria.

His comments mean the goalposts previously established by his boss have significantly shifted - Donald Trump originally said USA troops would leave Syria after the elimination of ISIS in the area.

The incident was the deadliest case of friendly fire between Syria and its key backer Russian Federation since Moscow's game-changing 2015 military intervention.

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Moscow will bolster Syria's air defence with a S-300 system and jam radars of military planes striking from off the coast of the Mediterranean following the downing of a Russian plane, its military chief said.

"The situation has changed, and not due to our fault", the statement said.

The Kremlin said on Monday that the Israeli explanation "differs from the conclusions of Russian Ministry of Defense" and that the actions of Israel's pilots were the "root cause for the tragedy".

Israel has long called on Russian Federation not to provide the S-300 system to Syria and in 2013, the Kremlin agreed to put a deal to deliver them on hold. Then, "one minute" after Israel's call, its F-16 planes struck targets in Latakia in western Syria, he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks through the porthole while aboard the presidential plane on December 11, 2017, during the approach to the Russian air base in Hmeimim in the northwestern Syrian province of Latakia. Earlier in the war, Russian Federation suspended a supply of S-300s, which Israel feared Syria could use against it.

Krelmin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call that the decision to supply the weapons was "not directed at any third country".

Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad discussed the additional measures and delivery of the S-300 system on the phone on Monday, the Kremlin said.

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