In the wake of a recent air strike conducted by Israeli forces over Syria, and the “precision strike” conducted by a US-led coalition, the possibility of Russian air defense hardware falling into the hands of Assad’s government is a growing concern for the Jewish state.
Throughout the instability that has engulfed Syria over the past 7 years, Israel has been freely roaming Syrian airspace, conducting strikes at will on any target deemed a threat by Tel Aviv, with Israel owning up to having conducted over 100 different strikes on Hezbollah forces in Syria, as well as other various targets. Israel holds the position that they can and will continue to strike any target they see fit whenever it suits Israeli interests.
The possibility of Russia furnishing Assad’s regime with Russian air defense hardware is one that was shelved some years ago, but recent Western military aggression seems to be reawakening the possibility of an arms deal between Moscow and Damascus involving the sale of Russia’s S-300 air defense system to the Syrian government. Tel Aviv is increasingly becoming concerned that their pilots could face real danger in the skies over Syria as they conduct their operations in Syrian airspace. The Jerusalem Post reports:
With a de-confliction mechanism in place with Russia over Syria in order to avoid any unwanted conflict with the superpower, Israel has largely had free reign over Syrian skies to carry out strikes on targets deemed a threat to the Jewish state.
Over the course of Syria’s seven-year-long civil war, Israel has publicly admitted to having struck over 100 Hezbollah convoys and other targets in Syria, while keeping mum on hundreds of other strikes that have been attributed to the Jewish state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that strikes will continue when “we have information and operational feasibility.”
Syrian air defenses are largely Soviet-era systems, comprised of SA-2s, SA-5s and SA-6s, as well as more sophisticated tactical surface-to-air missiles such as the SA-17 and SA-22 systems. The most up-to-date system that Moscow has supplied to the Syrian regime is the short range Pantsir S-1, which has shot down drones and missiles that have flown over Syria.
Russian chief of main operational directorate Col.-Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said Saturday evening that “In the past year and a half, Russia has fully restored Syria’s air defense system and continues to further upgrade it.”
Moscow had “refused” to supply the surface-to-air missile system to Syria a few years ago after “taking into account the pressing request of some of our Western partners.”
But following US-led air strikes on the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons infrastructure, Russia considers “it possible to return to an examination of this issue, not only in regard to Syria but to other countries as well,” he said.
The advanced S-300 would be a major upgrade to Syrian air defenses and pose a threat to Israeli jets as the long-range missile defense system can track objects like aircraft and ballistic missiles over a range of 300 kilometers.
A full battalion includes six launcher vehicles, with each vehicle carrying four missile containers for a total of 24 missiles, as well as command- and-control and long-range radar detection vehicles.
The system’s engagement radar, which can guide up to 12 missiles simultaneously, helps guide the missiles toward the target. With two missiles per target, each launcher vehicle can engage up to six targets at once.
Since the Russians entered the bloody conflict in 2015, the Syrian regime has become more brazen in its responses to Israeli strikes.
…If the Russians supply the advanced S-300 to Syria, Israeli jets may face these scenarios more often. And it could be just a matter of time before an Israeli pilot is killed.
The West’s aggression against Syria has now opened up the possibility of arms deals between Syria and Russia, potentially opening up a pathway to Russian arms business expanding even to other nations, as well.
The Western coalition, in Striking Syria, therefore, rather than successfully damage Assad’s government, has brought much of the world together in solidarity against its expansionist policies and aggression not just in the form of a few words, but in possible new arms deals, diplomatic ties between nations which America views as threats, and in the very governments of the coalition members themselves, France and Britain, together with global protests.
Apparently, not only does America create its own demons, it unites them, to the vexation of its regional allies.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.