Russia responds to Israeli strikes by boosting Syrian air defensessteemCreated with Sketch.

in #news3 years ago

After attributing the responsibility of the death of 15 of its servicemen to Israel, Russia warned that it reserved the right to respond. Response measures were announced by the Ministry of Defense on September 24th to improve the security of the Russian deployment in Syria: 

  • Russia will deliver S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian Arab Army within two weeks.
  • Syrian air defense command posts will be equipped with automated control systems to further integrate the facilities and avoid friendly fire against Russian planes.
  • All airborne radars and communication systems of combat aircrafts which attack targets inside Syrian territory, as well as in the regions over the waters of the Mediterranean Sea bordering Syria will be jammed. First shipments of additional electronic warfare equipment arrived at Hmeimim airbase on Tuesday according to Russian newspaper Izvestia.

The long-range, more advanced S-300 batteries would greatly improve Syrian air-defense capabilities. Delivery was scheduled in 2013 but suspended upon request from Israel. Moscow repeatedly threatened to pursue the transfer, especially after each round of Israeli or US strikes. For instance, after the coordinated Western cruise missile strikes on Damascus in April 2018, Russia hinted at a possible S-300 delivery, only to back off after Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow. It seems that the latest Israeli aggression and its tragic outcome pushed Putin to act.

It remains to be seen whether the weapons are aimed for simple dissuasion or if they will be ready to shoot down an Israeli jet when the next strike comes. The Syrian air defenses have not withheld their fire during previous aggressions, and even took down a F-16 in February 2018. Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said on Tuesday that with the S-300 in place, Israel will need to think twice before attacking again, and that Syria will defend itself as it has done before.

US and Israeli leadership strongly condemned the Russian decision. The IDF affirmed earlier this month to have bombed over 200 Iranian targets in Syria since 2017, and vowed to continue their operations despite the installation of the S-300 system. In April 2018, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman asserted that “Israel will react forcefully if Russian air defense systems are used against its jets”

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