Russia supplied Syria with improved S-300 to counter Israeli strikes
Moscow has delivered advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Syria to protect the Iranian troops deployed in the country in the wake of last month’s downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane during an Israeli airstrike in Latakia.
The three battalion sets of S-300PM-2 air defense missile handed over to Syria by Russia are more advanced compared to their conventional counterparts.
Unlike conventional S-300s, the modernized air defense system can fire medium-range tactical ballistic missiles, while retaining its ability to destroy aerial targets up to 250 kilometers (155 miles) away.
Contrary to media reports, the S-300PM-2 currently deployed in Syria will not be operated by Iranians because the only specialists who can operate this system are in Russia.
In early October, Russia donated to Syria three battalion sets of S-300 missile systems of eight launchers each of which had been repaired in Russia where they had been used before being replaced by the more advanced S-400 system.
The Russian Defense Ministry then said that it would take three months to train ‘Syrian’ specialists to operate the missile system.
Syrian government missile defense systems last month shot down a Russian military plane, killing all 15 people on board. The Russian Defense Ministry repeatedly accused Israel of using the Russian intelligence plane as a shield against Syrian anti-aircraft missiles because it is broader in size.
“The IAF did not hide behind any aircraft, and the Israeli planes were in Israeli airspace when a Syrian missile struck the Russian plane,” the IDF said in a statement.
“The cooperation between the IDF and the Russian military has proved itself many times in recent years. It is a common interest for this cooperation to continue, especially in light of regional challenges,” the IDF statement went on to say.
“However, as this incident proves, equipping irresponsible bodies with advanced weapons is dangerous to the region and can cause serious damage to those who are operating in the area,” the IDF asserted in a statement.
“The IDF will continue to act in accordance with the political echelon’s instructions, in the face of Iran’s unceasing attempts to establish itself in Syria and to arm Hezbollah with lethal and precise weapons,” the statement concluded.