Russian Federation to send advanced S-300 missile defense systems to Syria

A flurry of shuttle diplomacy by Israeli officials to Russia appeared to be paying off in May, when Russian officials said just days after a visit by Netanyahu that they were not planning on selling the system to Syria. When Israel kills Syrians, Syria complains and may fire some missiles back, but its military is too weak and distracted by a seven-year-long civil war to do much about it.

The Russian president also informed Assad of the S-300 delivery, it said.

Russia's decision to provide Syria with advanced S-300 air defense systems is a "major mistake", U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned, advising Russian Federation against escalating the already high tensions in the Middle East region.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system would be delivered within two weeks.

In addition to the provision of S-300s, the Russian defence ministry warned that its forces will target the electronic systems of any military aircraft that launches strikes on Syrian targets, a risky move likely to escalate regional tensions.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu said that ultimately, Israel will continue to defend itself from Iranian escalation in the region, albeit preferably with Russian cooperation. Russian Federation has agreed to supply the Syrian government with a surface-to-air missile defense system as it continues to try to prop up the regime there.

It remains to be seen what the S-300's delivery to the Assad regime will bring about in the region, but it would definitely mark a "significant escalation" of the situation, said US National Security Advisor John Bolton at a press conference to mark the beginning of the annual UN General Assembly in NY on September 24, 2018.

Alexander Khramchikhin of the Moscow-based Institute of Military and Political Analysis said the S-300 could "seriously affect Israel's ability to carry out its strikes in Syria".


The close relationship that exists between the Assad regime, Iran and Hezbollah also means that Russia has in effect rewarded the Iranian-led radical axis, and moved closer to it by choosing to punish Israel and by ignoring Iran's unsafe actions that led to the downing of the Russian plane.

For its part, Israel is wary of Iran's growing influence in Syria, which is bringing its archenemy closer to its borders.

Russia, which fights in Syria to support the government against rebels and militants, has said Syrian anti-aircraft batteries shot its IL-20 surveillance plane down by mistake shortly after Israeli jets hit a nearby target.

Shoigu said Russia will equip Syrian anti-aircraft units with Russian tracking and guidance systems in order to identify Russian aircraft. Government troops have liberated the militant-held provinces one by one with the help of Syria's allies Iran and Russian Federation.

Moscow has blamed Israel for the accidental shooting down of the aircraft with 15 people onboard.

Russian Federation in April had hinted that it would supply the S-300 to Assad's government despite Israeli objections.

USA officials believe that Russian Federation agreed to halt the offensive on Idlib because Moscow believes the Assad regime in Damascus could not quickly defeat the rebel holdout without chemical weapons and realised that major use of chemical arms would invite United States and allied intervention.


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