Russia Denies Reports Syria Already Got Anti-Aircraft Missiles

Vague Comments From Assad Stirred Suspicions

Sources from the Russian Defense Ministry deny that Syria has already received any of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles they have been contracted to deliver, though Russian officials maintain that they still intend to complete the deal.

The speculation was fueled by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s interview today with Hezbollah-run al-Manar TV, in which he made comments about having received unspecified weapons shipments from Russia, without directly addressing the S-300.

Since the comments came in response to a question about the S-300, there was speculation, particularly in the Israeli press, that this amounted to a confirmation of some of the shipment already being delivered.

The issue is an important one because over the past few days Israeli officials have presented the delivery of S-300’s as a “red line” for war with Syria, and have even threatened to attack the Russian Navy over attempts to deliver the shipments.

S-300 missiles are the most advanced in Russia’s arsenal, and in the wake of recent Israeli attacks Syria has been eager to complete the contracts to acquire them. The defensive system would make Israeli or Western attacks on Syria much more difficult to carry out.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.