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Assad Evasive on Buying Russian Missiles (Jan. 27)

PRAGUE --- In an interview with "Izvestiya" on 24 January, Syrian President al-Assad denied that the goal of his four-day visit to Russia is to shop for Russian arms and, especially, Iskander-E tactical missiles. "The Russian Defense Minister [Sergei Ivanov] said there is no such deal and this is a clear answer," he said.

Al-Assad refused, however, to say whether his country has an agreement on such a deal, saying, "It is not for presidents to discuss specific projects," "Izvestiya" reported.

And in his address to the MGIMO students on 25 January, al-Assad said that Syria has the right to defend itself and its airspace, "Ha'aretz" reported on 25 January "If Israel is against us acquiring them [missiles], it's as if it were saying, 'We want to attack Syria but we don't want them to protect themselves,'" he said.

Israel and the United States have expressed concern about the possible sale of the Iskander missile to Syria

Syrian President Evasive About Buying Russian Missiles