Russia to send S-300 air defense system to Syria

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A Syrian air defense missile is seen in the sky while responding to an Israeli missile attack on the international airport of Damascus on Sept.15, 2018. Russia has agreed to supply the S-300 air defense system and identification equipment capable of intercepting air attack. Xinhua

MOSCOW (Xinhua) – Russia will supply the S-300 air defense system and identification, friend or foe (IFF) equipment to Syria after its Il-20 surveillance plane was mistakenly downed by Syria’s S-200 system, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

“The Syrian Armed Forces will receive within two weeks a modern S-300 surface-to-air missile system capable of intercepting air attack means over a range of more than 250 km and simultaneously hitting several air targets,” Mr Shoigu said in a televised statement.

Mr Shoigu recalled that in 2013 Russia suspended the supply of the S-300 to Syria at the request of Israel.

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“Today the situation has changed, not due to our fault,” Mr Shoigu said.

He said that the command posts of Syrian formations and air defense units will be equipped with “automated control systems” that are currently supplied only to the Russian Armed Forces.

According to the minister, this will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircraft and ensure the centralised management of all Syrian air defense forces and facilities.

In areas adjacent to Syria over the Mediterranean, Russia will carry out radio-electronic suppression of satellite navigation, airborne radars and communications systems of combat aircraft attempting to attack facilities on the Syrian territory, Mr Shoigu said.

“We believe that the implementation of these measures will cool ‘hotheads’ and deter unreasonable actions threatening our servicemen. Otherwise, we will have to respond in accordance with the unfolding situation,” he said.

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The Russian Defense Ministry has said that a Russian Il-20 surveillance plane with 15 servicemen on board was mistakenly downed on Sept. 17 by a Syrian missile due to a simultaneous Israeli air strike that confused Syria’s S-200 air defense system.

The Israeli military rejected the accusation that its jets deliberately used the Il-20 as a shield and led to its downing.

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