Russia Hints It May Provide Advanced Air Defenses To Syria

Russia Hints It May Provide Advanced Air Defenses To Syria

The Syrian air defense was able to successfully shot down 46 cruise missiles that the US, France and the United Kingdom fired at it on April 14, a senior Russian military commander says, rejecting American claims that all of the missiles hit their targets.

On Wednesday, Russian Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi said Russia will supply Syria with "new missile defense systems soon".

Tensions between Israel and Iran have been on the rise following an alleged Israeli attack on the T-4 air base in Syria earlier in April.

Transferring upgraded air-defense systems to Syria could be seen as an escalation by neighboring Israel and raises the risk of Israeli attacks.

However, Russia, Iran, and the United States have reportedly attributed the April 8 attack to Israel. "We are concerned they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW fact-finding mission to conduct an effective investigation".

"We of course understand the reasons for Israel deciding to carry out actions of this kind, and would of course also prefer that these reasons not exist", he said.

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On April 14, US President Donald Trump along with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May authorized a joint missile attack against alleged chemical weapons manufacturing sites inside Syria.

However, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said that S-300 missile systems had been delivered to Syria last month.

"A few years ago at the request of our partners, we decided not to supply S-300s to Syria", Lavrov said in an interview with the BBC.

The minister referred to comments by top Russian officials to the Kommersant newspaper that Russia is expected to provide Syria with S-300 anti-aircraft defence systems.

In February, Israel shot down what it said was an armed Iranian drone that penetrated its airspace from Syria. In the interview, Lieberman said Russian Federation already has air-defense systems in Syria. "So far, there have been no incidents between us, nor even hints at incidents, and I hope there will not be", he said in response to Liberman's threat.

The S-300 and S-400 systems present a definite danger to hostile aircraft and are advertised as equally competent at taking out cruise missiles, but questions remain over whether they can stop airstrikes.

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