Russia set to boost Syria's air defenses

Russia announced it will supply an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria, a week after Moscow blamed Israel for causing the downing of a Russian military plane in Syria.

Moscow will bolster Syria’s air defenses with an S-300 system and jam radars of military planes striking from off the coast of the Mediterranean following the downing of a Russian plane, its military chief said.

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

“This has pushed us to adopt adequate response measures directed at boosting the security of Russian troops” in Syria, Shoigu said in a televised statement.

“(Russia will) transfer the modern S-300 air defense system to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks.”

Syrian military had already been trained to use the system, which was set to be sent over in 2013 but was held up “at the request of Israel,” Shoigu said.

“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 Syrian territory.”

Moscow says planes which struck Latakia in western Syria on September 17 later used the landing Russian Il-20 surveillance plane as a “cover,” which resulted in the Il-20 being struck by a Syrian air defense missile.

“We are certain that the realization of these measures will cool the ‘hot heads’ and will keep them from poorly thought-out actions which threaten our servicemen,” Shoigu said.

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