United States warns Russian Federation over missile defense for Syria

Mike Pompeo

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The S-300 would represent a major upgrade over the older Russian-made systems the Syrians now use, and would put USA, coalition, and Israeli jets under much greater danger of being shot down if the system was used against them in missions over Syria.

Netanyahu says he is confident of the Israeli account and warns Putin against "transferring advanced weapons systems" to Syria.

According to the data, the Syrian air defense's missile was, in fact, targeting an Israeli F-16 jet before it abruptly altered its course and eventually hit the Russian aircraft. Russia alleges that Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as "cover" from Syria air defenses.

Moscow will bolster Syria's air defence with a 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.

"We will continue to act to prevent the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, and continue the security coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and Russian army", Netanyahu told reporters.

A Russian army Tyulpan self-propelled mortar, left, and an S-300 long range surface-to-air missile system take part in a live demonstration at the International Military-Technical Forum "ARMY 2018" expo at Kubinka airfield in Kubinka, Russia, on Aug 21, 2018. It took Israel a few days to disprove this accusation, but it left many awkward questions for Russian command regarding the real responsibility for this case of "friendly fire" (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 20).

"According to information of our military experts, the reason (behind the downing) were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly can not but harm our relations", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

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Israel has long called on Russian Federation not to provide the S-300 system to Syria and in 2013, the Kremlin agreed to put a deal to deliver them on hold. Planes taking off from Tel Aviv Airport will show up on the S-300, they can't hide that.

In its effort to defend the Assad regime, Russian Federation is trying to deter Israel and get Jerusalem to scale back its military campaign against Iran's activities in Syria.

The deterioration in relations between Russian Federation and Israel, along with a transfer of the S-300 system, complicates Israel's efforts to contain Iranian influence.

But François Heisbourg, a French defence analyst and a former defence official, said he presumed the S-300s would be operated by Russians, not Syrians.

The French minister said it "does not bring the war to an end to the war, and nothing assures us that the Syrian government will play along".

Shoigu said Russia will equip Syrian anti-aircraft units with Russian tracking and guidance systems in order to identify Russian aircraft. Israel has launched at least 200 strikes at Iranian and Hezbollah facilities in Syria over the past years, and has maintained a hotline with the Russian military to prevent any collisions.

The messages underscore the complexities facing U.S. policymakers as they deal with the various conflicts that have ripped Syria apart since 2011, and how deeply the U.S., Russia, Iran and Israel have been drawn into the conflict that began as street protests against the Assad regime.

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