Russia will provide an S-300 air-defense missile system to strengthen its combat capabilities following the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.
Syria’s antiquated S-200 air defence system mistook a Russian turboprop aircraft for an F-16 jet of the Israeli Air Force and shot it down with a missile last week killing 14 persons on board.
"A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks. It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and hit simultaneously several air targets," the minister said in remarks quoted by TASS.
Command posts of the Syrian air defense will also be equipped with Russian automated systems, which guarantee the identification of Russian aircraft, the defense chief stated.
"The command posts of Syrian air defense forces and units will be equipped with automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces. This will facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense, monitor the situation in the air, and ensure operative issuance of orders. Most importantly, we will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircrafts by the Syrian air defense systems," Shoigu said.
Russia had so far held back from supplying S-300 systems to Syria under a request for Israel. However, last week’s incident in which Moscow accuses Israel of using the IL-20 which was coming into land as a “cover” for sneaking in its F-16 jets into bombing positions, has caused a change in Moscow.
The S-300 will give the control of airspace around the reach of the missile system to Syria and considerably hinder Israeli operations.