Russian Federation to boost Syrian air defence with S-300 system

An Israeli military officer misled the Russians by reporting that four of its F-16 fighter jets would be hitting Syrian targets in the north, the Russian defense ministry spokesman said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 11, 2018. But the Russian military came out on Sunday, renewing the accusations against Israel.

Syrian government forces shot a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane down off the northwestern province of Latakia on September 17, killing all 15 servicemen aboard. Israel, which has repeatedly bombed Iranian targets in Syria, had always been opposed to such deliveries, and Russian Federation has in the past abided by Israel's request.

"The S-300 is to be supplied to Syria within the fortnight", Shoigu said in comments published by the Russian news agency Interfax.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's office explicitly linked the Russian decision to supply the weapons to the air crash: "President Putin held Israel responsible for bring down the plane and informed President Assad that Russia will develop Syria's air defence systems", the Syrian presidency said.

According to the ministry of defense, the Russian military aircraft was shot down before landing at the Hmeimim air base.

The Israeli aircraft then continued to patrol the area off the Syrian coast, the radar data shows, refuting the claims by the Israeli Defense Forces that their planes had already returned to Israeli airspace at the moment of the incident.




Konashenkov said the Russian military received a call from Israeli command at 1839 GMT on the day of the incident to warn that Israel would be striking "north of Syria", where the Il-20 surveillance aircraft was monitoring the Idlib de-escalation zone.

"According to information of our military experts, the reason [behind the downing] was premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly can not but harm our relations", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as telling journalists.

This will improve Syrian air-defense operations and "most important, the identification of all Russian aircraft by Syrian air-defense systems will be guaranteed", Shoigu said.

'Russia in this case is acting in its interests only, these actions are not directed against third countries, but towards defending our own military, ' he said. "Most importantly, this will guarantee that Russian aircraft are identified by Syrian air defences", he said.

But after the downing of the plane last week, "the situation has changed", Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an address carried live on national television.

Nevertheless, the Israeli military said that it would continue to operate against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria and that it hoped its coordination efforts with Russian Federation continued.

Russian Federation already has its own S-300 air defense system in Syria, along with the more advanced S-400 system.

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