by Yona Schnitzer
The Russian Defense Ministry has issued a veiled warning to Israel that it should not attempt any “provocative actions” in Syria as Russia completes its transfer of T-300 anti-aircraft missile systems and Polyana D-4 air defense systems to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
“As you know, in order to increase the level of security of the Russian military personnel, aviation flights and the protection of objects in Syria, the delivery of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems and Polyana D-4 air defense systems were completed,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a news briefing on Wednesday.
“At present, Russian advisers are preparing Syrian military personnel for combat work on these modern air defense systems. We believe that it is advisable for ‘hot heads’ to adequately assess the current situation in the region and refrain from provocative actions on the territory of Syria,” he added.
The current transfer of Russian anti-aircraft missiles to Syria was decided upon by Moscow after an incident on September 18, when Syrian missile defense systems shot down a Russian plane carrying 15 Russian soldiers over the Mediterranean Sea while responding to an Israeli air strike. Moscow blamed Israel for the incident, claiming it had not been briefed in time about the planned strike.
While the event triggered a minor diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Moscow, Israel has continued to carry out military actions in Syria since the incident, a senior Israeli defense official said Monday.