The weapons are needed, he said, to enable Syria to fight the rebel groups seeking to unseat President Bashar al-Assad, as well as the radical Islamist group ISIS, which has already taken over large parts of Syria.
Some reports suggest that this is not the first time Russia has provided Syria with the advanced S-300 missiles. The last transfer was in September 2013, according to Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai, which said that the transfers took place despite statements by Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, that Russia would not provide Syria with the advanced anti-aircraft system.
According to defense officials, the Russian-made S-300s can engage 12 targets simultaneously at distances of 200 kilometers and heights of up to 27 kilometers.
In 2012, Israel convinced Russia to cancel an S-300 sale to Syria, according to then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak. “Putin listened perfectly to what we said,” Barak told Army Radio, asserting that the 100-million U.S. dollar deal's suspension was the outcome of talks between Russian and Israeli officials.
In May 2013, Israel’s Defense Minister, Bogie Yaalon, threatened his country would attack the new S-300 advanced missile batteries Syria has ordered from Russia. Though Israel claims they have not yet been shipped by Russia, it clearly fears that this may be imminent.
Speaking to Al-Akhbar Lebanese newspaper Wednesday, al-Muallem said that Syria has never received S300 missiles from Russia, but was confident that Russia would this time provide Damascus with the advanced systems.
Source: Al Akhbar; Agencies