The decision on delivery of the Favorit air defense systems from Russia to Syria has almost been reached by the Kremlin, according to the leading liberal business broadsheet Kommersant (С-300 нацелились на Сирию). The newspaper cites diplomatic sources who say Russia is about to start supplying the system, which has a range of 1 to 125 miles, at a speed of 6,200 MPH.
The Kremlin plans to keep Russian military advisors on the ground to coordinate the actions of their Syrian counterparts, sources told Kommersant, adding that if, for example, Israel decided to attack the S-300s’ locations, the consequences “would be catastrophic for all sides.”
Damascus signed contracts for those supplies back in 2010, but the deal has been halted under Israel’s request. This time around, Kommersant asserts, Favorit’s delivery is a go. Also, as the newspaper puts it, the deal is on a “non-repayable basis,” as part of Russia’s military and technical assistance to Syria. Yes, they’re getting them for free.
The S-300s will be deployed as the foundation of a layered air defense system in Syria as quickly as possible, to defend against potential strikes by the US-led coalition and by Israel, the newspaper says.
Israel has yet to issue an official response to Russia’s plans to supply the S-300s to Syria, but Kommersant suggested there would be “a knee-jerk reaction from Tel Aviv.”
According to Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Director Ruslan Pukhov, Moscow “most likely chose the option of providing demonstrative support to Bashar Assad after the April strike, which required a certain response from Russia to the US and its allies.”
Meanwhile, Russia expects the deployment of S-300s in Syria to “help stabilize the environment in the country and prevent Israel and the US-led collation from freely eliminating civil and military infrastructure,” Kommersant stated.
Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security Viktor Bondarev believes that “the presence of efficient defense equipment in any sovereign country will sober up some loose cannons not just among NATO military and high-ranking officers.”