Syria to Get Russia's S-300 Air-Defense Missile System Within Two Weeks
(Source: TASS; published Sept 24, 2018)
MOSCOW --- Within two weeks, the Syrian army will get from Russia S-300 air-defense missiles to strengthen its combat capabilities following the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft in Syria, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.
'A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks. It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and hit simultaneously several air targets,' the minister said.
Shoigu said S-300 missiles will strongly strengthen combat capabilities of the Syrian air defense due to their jamming invulnerability and firing speed.
'I will underscore - at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training. Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame,' the defense minister said.
Command posts of the Syrian air defense will also be equipped with Russian automated systems, which guarantee the identification of Russian aircraft, the defense chief stated.
'The command posts of Syrian air defense forces and units will be equipped with automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces. This will facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense, monitor the situation in the air, and ensure operative issuance of orders. Most importantly, we will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircrafts by the Syrian air defense systems,' Shoigu said.
A Russian electronic surveillance Il-20 plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea late on September 17 when it was flying back to the Russian airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian defense ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense complex when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia governorate. The Israeli pilots actually used the Russian aircraft as a cover, exposing it to Syrian missiles, the ministry stressed.
Russia to Supply Syria with S-300 Defense Systems
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued Sept 24, 2018)
Moscow will boost Syria's armaments by sending them powerful S-300 missile defense systems, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said. Moscow claims Israeli jets caused Syrians to shoot down a Russian spy plane.
Syrian regime troops will receive S-300 missile defense systems from Russia within the next two weeks, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.
The modernized version of the Soviet-era system 'is capable of intercepting aerial attacks at the distance of over 250 kilometers and simultaneously countering several targets,' the minister said.
The move comes after Moscow blamed Israel for indirectly causing the destruction of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane last week. The incident claimed the lives of 15 Russian soldiers.
'We are convinced that these measures will cool down the 'hot heads' and keep them from ill-conceived actions threatening out troops,' Shoigu said in his televised address.
Israel denies responsibility
Russia's spy plane was shot down over Syria last Monday. Both Russia and its allies from the Syrian regime acknowledge the missiles were fired by the Syrian military, but say the troops had targeted Israeli jets flying sorties in the area.
Moscow has blamed Israel for the loss of life, claiming that Israeli jets used the spy plane as a cover to avoid Syrian fire. Israel admitted bombing targets in Syria before the plane was shot down on Monday. However, they denied any connection with the incident.
Supplying Syrian army with advanced anti-aircraft capabilities is likely to raise the stakes in the volatile region, where Israel and several other countries often conduct bombing attacks.
S-300 delivery 'not directed' against Israel
Russian President Vladimir Putin initially sought to deflate tensions with Israel, saying that 'a chain of tragic accidental circumstances' caused the Russian plane to be destroyed. On Monday, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the deployment of S-300 was 'not directed at any third country.'
At the same time, however, Peskov pointed the finger at Israel when speaking about the destruction of the Russian plane.
'According to the information provided by our military experts, the reasons for this tragedy are premediated actions of Israeli pilots, and that cannot but harm our ties' with Israel, Peskov said.
Time for an upgrade
Syrian military used the outdated S-200 missiles to respond to the Israeli attack. The systems, originally developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s, have no capability to distinguish between friendly and hostile forces. Russian bases in Syria are already protected by the latest, S-400 systems, as well as S-300 also operated by Russian troops.
By delivering a revamped version of the more modern S-300 defense system, Russia seeks to reduce the risk of a similar friendly-fire incident. Moscow will also equip Syria's anti-aircraft command centers with high-tech systems to improve coordination and monitoring. According to Shoigu, hostile aircraft will also face electronic interference above parts of the Mediterranean in Syrian airspace.
Israel did not immediately comment on the Russian move. Earlier this year, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman speculated that giving advanced weapons to Damascus could trigger a response.
'For us, it is important that defensive weaponry which Russia is supplying to Syria, is not used against us,' he told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, according to the Russian translation provided by the Interfax news agency.
'If they are, we will take action against them.'