Russia to boost Syrian air defence with S-300 system

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Russia refrained from giving this system to the Syrians in the past due to Israeli protests, but Moscow now blames Israel for the deaths of 15 Russian crew members.

In addition to the provision of S-300s, the Russian defence ministry warned that its forces will target the electronic systems of any military aircraft that launches strikes on Syrian targets, a risky move likely to escalate regional tensions.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that President Vladimir Putin ordered additional security measures after a Syrian Soviet-era S-200 missile shot down the Russian military plane by mistake, killing 15, in an incident last Monday that Moscow blames on Israel.

The US political aide also blamed Iran for "attacks in Syria and Lebanon" and stated it was "really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane" last week. But now Russian Federation holds Israel responsible for the downing of the plane.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Monday that Russian plans to supply Syria with an S-300 missile system would be a "significant escalation" by Moscow and that he hopes it will reconsider.

Shoigu said Russia will equip Syrian anti-aircraft units with Russian tracking and guidance systems in order to identify Russian aircraft.

The Trump administration is warning Russian Federation that supplying Syria with an advanced missile defense system would be a "major mistake" and should be reconsidered.

Israel has been vocal in its opposition to deployment of the S-300 missile systems in Syria, warning that they would strike the defenses if they were used against Israeli forces.

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Shoigu said that "the situation has changed, and it's not our fault", adding that the supply of an S-300 would "calm down some hotheads" whose actions "pose a threat to our troops". "It could cause a reaction by Israel or the USA, including attempts to destroy the system before it's operational".

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks through the porthole while aboard the presidential plane on December 11, 2017, during the approach to the Russian air base in Hmeimim in the northwestern Syrian province of Latakia. An Israeli military delegation travelled to Moscow last week to share information about the incident.

Konashenkov also said that data showed that the Israeli jets remained over the Mediterranean Sea off Syria's coast after the Russian plane was downed.

Russian antiicraft missile systems - the S-300, right, and the S-400 - on display at a military industrial exhibition in Zhukovsky, in the Moscow region, on August 14, 2014.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday that the Russian decision "is not directed against third nations", and is primarily aimed at protecting Russian aircraft from further friendly fire.

The Russian government has agreed to provide the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with a missile defense system, according to the BBC.

Israel says it is determined to stop Iran, a longtime foe that has sent forces to back Assad, from becoming entrenched near Israel's northern border and prevent the transfer of advanced missile systems to Iranian proxies, including Hezbollah.

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