Russia is sending Pantsir-S1 advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Syria.
"This system is the advanced version used by Russia and it's meant to be operated by Russians in Syria," a Western diplomat was quoted as saying by Israeli mediaA.
The delivery would not be the first time Moscow had sent the SA-22 system, known as Pantsir-S1 in Russian, to Syria. It had been sent in 2013. However, the version of the SA-22 (Pantsir-S1) on its way to Syria was newer than previous missile systems deployed there, various media reported Firday.
The US has been leading a campaign of air strikes in Syrian air space for a year, joined by aircraft from European and regional allies including Britain, France, Jordan and Turkey. US forces operating in the area are concerned about the potential introduction of the weapon, the Western diplomat said.
Russia has been sending troops and equipment to Syria but its intentions are unclear, the US officials added. The US would risk “unintended incidents” if it chose not to engage in military-to-military cooperation with his country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
The Pantsyr-S1 is an advancement of the 2S6 Tunguska air defense gun or missile system, based on a tracked chassis.
The system carries about 12 surface-to-air missiles in sealed containers. These missiles are ready-to-launch and have radio-command guidance.