Both the United States and Israel urged Russia on Monday evening not to carry out its intention to provide Syria with the advanced S-300 missile defense system in the next two weeks, warning that such a move would only greatly increase dangers already present in the region.
The warning came in response to the statement by Russia saying the Kremlin would supply advanced surface-to-air missiles to Syria after a Russian reconnaissance plane was downed over Latakia a week ago in an incident that is still being disputed between Damascus, Moscow and Jerusalem.
“A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks. It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and [can] hit simultaneously several air targets,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Monday, according to the TASS news agency.
“I will underscore – at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training. Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame,” Shoigu continued.
Syrian air defense command posts will also be equipped with Russian automated systems, he said, which will guarantee the identification of Russian aircraft. Moreover, “In regions near Syria over the Mediterranean Sea, there will be radio-electronic suppression of satellite navigation, on-board radar systems and communication systems of military aviation attacking objects on Syria territory,” he added.
During their call, Netanyahu expressed his confidence in the credibility of the IDF investigation into the incident and its conclusions.
He reiterated that the Syrian anti-aircraft fire which brought down the plane, and Iran – whose aggression is undermining stability – were responsible for the unfortunate incident.
Netanyahu said that transferring advanced weapons systems such as the S-300 missiles into “irresponsible hands” would increase the dangers in the region. He added that Israel will continue to defend its security and its interests.
The prime minister also once again expressed his condolences over the death of Russian soldiers.
One of those who would be at risk, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 10 TV News, would be U.S. Air Force jets engaged in battle against Islamic State terrorists still operating in Syria.
The Israeli news outlet quoted an unnamed American official who said, “Bringing more anti-aircraft missiles into Syria won’t solve the Syrian army’s unprofessional and indiscriminate firing of missiles and won’t mitigate the danger to aircraft flying in the area.”