Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Russia missile sale to Syria is ‘significant escalation’: John Bolton

"A modern S-300 air defence missile system will be transferred to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks", he said, significantly increasing the combat capabilities of President Bashar Al Assad's forces. Russian Federation has blamed Israel, whose military was conducting airstrikes on Syria at the time, for the incident.

Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said President Vladimir Putin ordered the upgrade after a Syrian Soviet-era S-200 shot down a Russian plane last Tuesday, killing all 15 people on board. He said the Russians were unable to get the II-20 to a safe place because an Israeli duty officer had misled them, telling them of an Israeli operation in northern Syria while the jets were actually in Latakia, in the country's west. The crash was one of the deadliest incidents for regular Russian service members in the Syrian war.

"The situation has changed, and not due to our fault", the statement said.

Shoigu announced that Russia would also equip Syrian air defences with a new automated control system to enhance its efficiency and help identify Russian aircraft. The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday Sept. 23, 2018, has renewed its accusations against Israel for causing the downing of a Russian military plane over Syria.

Samuel Ramani - Specialist on Russia and Middle East Relations, and a contributor at the Russian International Affairs Council think-tank.

"The Russian side proceeds from the fact that the actions by the Israeli air force were the main reason for the tragedy", a statement said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Israel's warning came less than a minute before the airstrike.

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Netanyahu's office said in its readout of the call that the Israeli prime minister "stressed once again that the responsibility for the unfortunate incident lay on the Syrian army that shot it down and on Iran, whose aggression is destabilizing the region".

Israel's former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, who now heads the influential Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said he assumed the air force would work quickly to destroy the S-300, if it were indeed handed over to Syria.

Russian Federation had originally agreed to sell the system to Syria in 2010, but scrapped the plan at Israel's behest.

Nevertheless, the Israeli military said that it would continue to operate against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria and that it hoped its coordination efforts with Russian Federation continued.

It will also give the Syrian military the ability to jam onboard communications systems and radar. More broadly, Israel also sees Russian Federation as key to protecting its interests in Syria by preventing a build up of Iranian-linked bases and infrastructure.

Much of Syria's air-defense network has been provided by Russian Federation but consists of weapons that are older and less effective than the S-300.

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