Russian Federation missile sale to Syria is 'significant escalation': U.S.' Bolton

Elias Hubbard
September 25, 2018

But the downing last week of a Russian reconnaissance plane with 15 service members aboard changed the dynamic.

"[Russia will] transfer the modern S-300 air defense system to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks".

Putin spoke to Assad by phone Monday and informed him of the plan to provide the missiles, the Kremlin said in a statement. Russian Federation blamed Israel for creating unsafe conditions that caused the crash.

The decision came a week after Israeli F-16 planes struck targets near Moscow's air base in Latakia, western Syria, prompting the Syrian government to respond.

In areas adjacent to Syria over the Mediterranean, Russia will carry out radio-electronic suppression of satellite navigation, airborne radars and communications systems of combat aircraft attempting to attack facilities on the Syrian territory, Shoigu also said. Iranian forces are in Syria to support the government in the war. The Israeli leader also agreed with Putin on continued co-ordination between the two countries' armed forces.

The S-300 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defence Forces. It fires missiles from trucks and is created to shoot down military aircraft and short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Russian Federation has already sold the system to Iran, much to Israel's dismay given the weapon's ability to threaten Israeli air superiority and complicate air strikes in the event of a conflict.

Moscow had said that Israel would suffer "catastrophic consequences" if they targeted the equipment.

In a statement on September 24, the Kremlin said that Putin told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of the decision during a telephone conversation initiated by Assad.

The move comes to "increase safety" of Russian military fighting in Syria.

"Today's data no longer suggests, but clearly proves that the blame for the tragedy with the Russian Il-20 aircraft lies entirely with the Israeli air force and with those who authorized this kind of activity", the ministry's spokesman, Maj.

After Russia announced Monday that it will soon supply its advanced S-300 missile systems to Syria, the Trump administration was quick to join Israel in expressing its objection. "After you remove the threat, which is basically what will be done, we're back to square one", Yadlin told Bloomberg news in April. Israel effectively used the plane as a cover during the attack, he added.

Russian Federation has given Assad crucial support throughout the war in Syria, which began with a government crackdown on protesters in March 2011.

Israel's former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, who now heads the influential Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said he assumed the air force would work quickly to destroy the S-300, if it were indeed handed over to Syria.

"We're not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias", Bolton said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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