Russian Federation to supply Syria with anti-aircraft system after spy plane downed

Posted September 25, 2018

Idlib, controlled by a mix of radical groups and Turkey-backed armed opposition, overlooks the Syrian coast where Russian Federation military and air bases are located, and have reportedly come under rebel fire.

Following the incident, Russian Federation made a decision to supply an S-300 air-defense system to the Syrian military.

Shoigu said Russian Federation is now going to go ahead with the shipment because "the situation has changed, and it's not our fault".

Shoigu said in a televised statement, "This has pushed us to adopt adequate response measures directed at boosting the security of Russian troops" in Syria.

Israel denied this version of events and its air force commander flew to Moscow following the incident, which Putin called the result of a "chain of tragic accidental circumstances". This, and the position of all the aircraft at the moment of the September 17 incident, proves that an Israeli jet was de facto using the larger Il-20 as a cover, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov told journalists at Monday's news briefing.

He also complained that Israel, over the years, has waited until the last minute to notify Russia of its operations, putting Russian aircraft at risk. The Russian president also informed Assad of the S-300 delivery, it said.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Ministry Sergei Ryabkov fired back, warning the USA against taking "a mentor's tone".

Syrian military members had already been trained to use the more advanced system, which was originally set to be sent over in 2013 but was held up "at the request of Israel", Shoigu said.

Israel's former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, who now heads the influential Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said he assumed the air force would work quickly to destroy the S-300, if it were indeed handed over to Syria. 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.

Although Russia suggested that its immediate goal in supplying the missiles would be to protect Russian aircraft from accidental shoot-downs, the S-300s will also give Syria enhanced capacity to take on any of the other countries flying sorties in its crowded skies, including the United States and its allies in the coalition against the Islamic State. Instead, the Israeli jets targeted the western province of Latakia, putting the Russian warplane in the line of fire.

Russian Federation launched its campaign in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad in 2015 and though the involvement turned the tide of war in favour of Syrian regime forces.

But Moscow insisted the Syrians had no capability to determine which plane was friend or foe with their outdated Soviet system.

Hard-line armed groups have rejected the deal, saying it aims to strip the opposition of weapons and is a victory for Assad's government.