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.
Moscow accused Tel Aviv of failing to inform Russia about its impending attack on targets in
Syria, which resulted in a downing of the Russian electronic warfare aircraft by Syrian return fire. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the defense ministry to take several measures in response to the incident, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Arguably, the most concerning thing for Israel will be the delivery to Syria of an S-300 anti-aircraft system, which will boost Syria’s capabilities to deny Israel access to its airspace. The system was purchased by Damascus several years ago, but never delivered.
“In 2013 on a request from the Israeli side we suspended the delivery to Syria of the S-300 system, which was ready to be sent with its Syrian crews trained to use it,” the statement said.
“The situation has changed, and not due to our fault.”
The S-300 is a relatively modern system capable of engaging targets at the range of up to 250 km. Syria’s current anti-aircraft systems are older models that didn’t stop Israel from attacking targets on Syrian territory.