Russia will supply Syria with new air defense systems, the RIA Novosti news agency said Wednesday, quoting General Sergei Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff.
“Russian specialists will continue training Syrian military personnel, as well as assist in the development of new air defense systems, the deliveries of which will be carried out in the near future,” Rudskoy told the news agency.
Rudskoy said the decision had been made following the recent United States-led allied attack on Syria and that based on a “detailed analysis” of that strike by the Syrian Defense Ministry, changes were being made to shore up the Assad regime’s air defenses.
However Rudskoy did not clarify which systems Russia planned to supply Syria. Previous reports had said Moscow could supply Damascus with the S-300 system, a development that has troubled Israeli officials as the surface-to-air missile can lock onto targets deep inside Israeli airspace.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned in response to the reports that if S-300 systems were delivered to Syria and used against Israel, they would be destroyed.
“One thing needs to be clear,” Liberman said. “If someone fires at our planes, we will destroy them … If they shoot at us we will respond. It doesn’t matter if it’s the S-300 or the S-700 or any other system.”
A report in the Kommersant daily earlier in the week, quoted unnamed Russian officials as warning of “catastrophic” consequences for all sides should Israel attack the missile batteries.