30 May 2013, 23:20

Delivery of S-300 hampers Syrian opposition’s victory

С-300 зенитно-ракетный комплекс российская армия россия армия Оружие России

The delivery of S-300 air defence systems to Syria will make the opposition’s victory more shadowy, editor-in-chief of the “Voenno-Promyshlenny Kurer” magazine Mikhail Khodarenok said in an interview with the Voice of Russia. According to him, even a supply of weapons to militants by the European Union will not help them.

It will be impossible to defeat the Bashar al-Assad regime without air support.

According to the expert, the supply of S-300 air defence systems under a contract signed earlier will cool those who demand for establishing a no-fly zone over Syria.

The expert believes that the supply of air defence systems to Syria is an obstacle for foreign interference in the Syrian conflict.

Israel pledges not to attack targets in Russia amid S-300 shipment

Anonymous high-ranking Israeli diplomat told The Guardian that Israel won't be happy to learn that Syria gets S-300 missiles. “But we can't prevent Russia from shipping its arms to the Middle East”, the diplomat added. “We won't attack targets in Russia. We are quite egocentric but not to that extent”, the paper quoted the diplomat.

The source stressed, however, that he did not know whether Russians would get upset in case something goes wrong after the purchasing of the missiles and before their deployment in Damascus.

“I do not think that Russians will even care about it unless none of their citizens is injured”, the diplomat said.

A senior Israeli official said on Thursday that the S-300 missile systems “do not just come in a box” and that different elements would probably be delivered in stages.

It was possible, he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic constraints, that some parts had arrived in Syria, but he added that there was no indication at this stage that the systems were anywhere near operational.

Robert Hewson, editor of IHS Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, said it was plausible that some parts of the S-300s had already arrived in Syria:

The whole thing is a collection of vehicles. You have a launcher, radar and a command and control vehicle. You need all of that working together ... If your plan is to waltz into Syrian airspace and start bombing things this is a big wrinkle.

Hewson also said the Russians would inevitably supply military advisers who would work closely with the Syrian military and train them how to use the system:

There is a big danger that if you blow the S-300 up you will kill a lot of Russians. I don't think the Israelis want to do that. This is Russia operating at a big international level and saying: 'Assad is still our guy and we stand beside him.'

An Israeli diplomat told the Guardian Israel would “act against” the missiles after they were transferred to Syria but before they became operational.

But an Israeli military expert said it was unlikely Assad actually had the S-300s: "It's hard to believe that these huge weapons systems could be delivered to Assad without Israeli intelligence noticing. Anything is possible - but it's very, very unlikely."

Israel is worried that the anti-aircraft missiles could be used to strike its own territory or put its civilian or military aircraft at risk, could stop it striking Syria at will or flying over Lebanon, or could fall into the hands of Hezbollah, or whoever eventually replaces Assad if he is toppled.

In comments not directly related to Syria, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said Israel was “preparing for the worst” and faced “a cluster of new threats”.

Israel vows to stop Syria’s S-300 missile shield from becoming operational

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells European foreign ministers that if the Russian missile systems get into Syria, Israel's 'entire airspace will become a no-fly zone' and therefore it 'cannot stand idly by.'

Israel's National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror sketched out what Jerusalem's "red line" is vis-à-vis the S-300 missile systems Russia intends to send to Syria before the 27 European Union ambassadors in Israel.

Two diplomats who were in the room during the briefing last Thursday, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was a closed event, said that Amidror stressed Israel will act "to prevent the S-300 missiles from becoming operational" on Syrian soil. This message was also conveyed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon when he said on Tuesdaythat if the missiles reach Syria "Israel will know what to do."

Amidror's briefing, the diplomats said, made it clear that Israel estimates that sooner or later Russia will provide Syria with the missile systems and for reasons unrelated to Israel - namely Russian rivalry with the U.S., Britain and France on the Syrian issue. "We understood from Amidror that the Israeli government thinks the missile transfer cannot be prevented, therefore it will act against them after the transfer but before they become operational," one of the diplomats said.

Syria gets first batch of Russia S-300 missiles – Assad

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has confessed in an interview to AL-Manar TV Lebanon that the government has received the first batch of Russia-made long-range surface-to-air missiles, Israeli media report.

Assad added the next shipment of advanced S-300 missile systems was coming in shortly. Al-Manar is expected to publish the complete interview later today.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov previously told journlaists he wasn’t in a position to either confirm or deny the reports that claim the first S-300 missiles had already reached Syria. He added however Russia was indeed planning to supply Damascus with its missile systems.

Mr. Ryabkov said he realized this news came as a wakeup call for Russia’s global partners, but underscored Moscow was not going to revise its stance.

Voice of Russia, RIA, Interfax, NY Times, The Guardian

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