Russia Fires S-300 Anti-Aircraft Missiles at Attacking Israeli Planes in Syria

Israeli planes were not threatened in firing

In an incident which could suggest a significant shift in policy, the most recent Israeli attack on Syria, in Hama, saw Russian forces firing on them with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. The planes were not in danger, but this is the first time Russia has taken such fire on them.

Syria has a large quantity of Russian-made anti-aircraft systems, and the Syrian military itself has regularly used them to intercept missiles or chase Israeli warplanes.

Russia has provided Syria those weapons, and has provided upgraded versions like the advanced S-300. Those weapons have remained in part in Russian hands. The systems are positioned around Russian facilities in the west of the country.

Russia has at times objected to Israeli attacks in Syria, and ordered them away from the coast. Israel sometimes claims an “understanding,” though this firing suggests that understanding is increasingly limited.

S-300s are a very capable sort of anti-aircraft missiles, and capable of threatening Israeli warplanes all over Syrian airspace. This is clearly a fight Israel wouldn’t want.

It may be too soon to draw any conclusions on this, but Israel is likely to be more reticent on casually striking Syria in the near future if they aren’t sure of the response they will get.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.