Both Jerusalem and Washington warned Russia on Monday evening against its declared intention to provide the Syrian military with advanced surface-to-air missiles within two weeks, saying the move would further destabilize the region and increase already high tensions.
Last week we told you that during an Israeli strike on an Iranian chemical depot near the Damascus Airport, the Syrian Air Force mistakenly fired on a Russian military jet killing all the servicemen who were onboard at the time. Netanyahu met with Putin afterward, and the Russian leader appeared to accept Israel’s version of how events transpired. Until today.
Now Putin has announced that he is going to be arming Syria with the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air-missile system over the next two weeks, and it has triggered an immediate and aggressive response from both Israel and the United States. Should Russia follow through on its threat, it will greatly hamper Israel’s ability to attack Iranian military buildup in Syria, something that Israel cannot afford to do.
FROM TIMES OF ISRAEL: Israel’s high-level security cabinet was set to meet Tuesday morning to discuss the latest developments. Russian President Vladimir Putin informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the decision to provide Syria with the S-300 system in a phone call Sunday.
In response, according to a statement by Netanyahu’s office, “The prime minister said providing advanced weapons systems to irresponsible actors will magnify dangers in the region, and that Israel will continue to defend itself and its interests.”
Russia responds to Il-20 downing: S-300 to be sent to Syria within 2 weeks
Within two weeks Russia will deliver to Damascus an S-300 air defense system, previously suspended on a request by Israel. It comes as part of response to the downing of a Russian Il-20 plane amid an Israeli air raid on Syria.
Concurrently US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Russia’s announcement was a “major mistake” that would cause a “significant escalation” of tensions. He urged Moscow to reconsider. Channel 10 News quoted a senior American official who noted that the system could endanger US Air Force jets operating against Islamic State in Syria.
“Bringing more anti-aircraft missiles into Syria won’t solve the Syrian army’s unprofessional and indiscriminate firing of missiles and won’t mitigate the danger to aircraft flying in the area,” the unnamed official said.
Russia made the announcement following last week’s downing of a Russian plane by Syria in a friendly fire incident that killed 15 Russia soldiers. The Russian military’s reconnaissance Ilyushin Il-20 was shot down by Syrian missile defense systems responding to an Israeli airstrike. READ MORE