Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that within two weeks Russia would hand over to Syria an S-300 air defense system to strengthen Syria’s combat capacities following the loss of the Russian Ilyushin-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the delivery of the S-300 system had been suspended in 2013 following a request from Israel but added: "Now, the situation has changed. And it's not our fault."
“In parts of the Mediterranean adjacent to Syria, there will be radio-electronic jamming of satellite navigation, onboard radars and communications systems used by military aircraft attacking targets in Syrian territory,” he said.
The systems will also be able to track and identify Russian aircraft.
The Russian electronic surveillance Il-20 plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea late on September 17 when it was flying back to the Russian airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense complex when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia governorate. The Israeli pilots actually hid behind the Russian plane exposing it to Syrian missiles, the Ministry stressed.
Russia’s decision to strengthen combat capacities of Syrian air defense systems are geared primarily to avert the threat to the lives of Russian servicemen, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday during a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia’s decisions to strengthen combat capacities of Syrian air defense meet the current situation and are geared, first of all, to avert any potential threat to the lives of Russian servicemen who are fighting against international terrorism,” the Kremlin press service said.