Russian Federation to provide Syria with new missile system, over Israeli opposition

Israel's minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu meet in May 2018

Israel's minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu meet in May 2018

Vladimir Putin has given Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad a new air defence system following the downing of a Russian plane that Moscow blamed on Israeli pilots.

The supply of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft batteries to the Syrian air defense system. "The Syrian air defenses must have taken that maneuver for a new attack by the Israeli Air force", the spokesman speculated.

The Kremlin said Russia's decision was not targeted against anyone and only serves to protect Russian troops in Syria.

The Russian government announced Monday that it would be sending Syria an S-300 surface-to-air missile system.

Russian Federation has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets struck targets in the area, but accused Israel of creating unsafe conditions by failing to give sufficient advance notice.

Civilian aircraft on the routes between Cyprus and off the coasts of Syria and Lebanon, could also be in increased danger.

Turkish military vehicles have entered Idlib after militants snubbed an agreement between Turkey and Russian Federation for the creation of a buffer zone in the northwestern Syrian province, the last major militant stronghold in the Arab country.

American planes have been "painted" by Syrian air defense radars regularly since the USA -led coalition began bombing ISIS in Syria 2014, defense officials say. These strikes have killed more than 100 Iranian fighters in Syria in the last month alone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. "This compelled us to take reasonable measures in response, meant to improve the safety of Russian soldiers".

Russian Federation in April had hinted that it would supply the S-300 to Assad's government despite Israeli objections.

What is worrying is that Americans are not really interfering in the meantime.

The White House said it hoped Russian Federation would reconsider the move, which U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton called a "significant escalation" of the seven-year war.

"The S-300 is one of the world's most advanced and sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and yes it is a challenge for us", Oren said. It can intercept not only planes but also ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 250 kilometers and at a very high altitude. And while the new missiles would complicate military actions in Syria's crowded airspace and might present an additional challenge, several analysts said that they would not be a game changer.

"The move was a boost to Iran and the Syrian regime", he said.

"In 2013, on a request from the Israeli side we suspended the delivery to Syria of the S-300 system, which was ready to be sent with its Syrian crews trained to use it".

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said late Tuesday that the S-300 should have been given to Syria long ago.

For several years, Israel and Russian Federation have maintained a special hotline to prevent their air forces from clashing over crowded skies over Syria. They may slightly limit the freedom of operation of the Israeli military's air and missile systems.

It posed a threat to the two countries' relationship, which Moscow has maintained since it intervened militarily in the country three years ago.

Still, Russia is a superpower and has the kinetic military capabilities and cyber capabilities of a superpower that is neither worthwhile nor necessary to deal with.

But now, when Israel knocks down a Syrian air defense site, it runs the risk of killing Russian servicemen. Russian Federation had initially held off at the request of Israel.

This analysis was translated, edited and condensed by i24NEWS staff.

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