Report: Russia to Sell Syria Advanced Missiles, Keep Assad Going
Israel has warned the United States that Russia plans to sell advanced weapons to Syria, a report in the Wall Street Journal Thursday said. The deal is set to take place in the coming months. Reports Thursday said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. President Barack H. Obama Wednesday night for the first time since March, sharing with him the Israeli intelligence on the matter.
Israel has obtained information that Russia plans to sell to the regime of Bashar al-Assad advanced S-300 long-range surface to air missiles. It is suspected that Syria already has older versions of the missiles. According to intelligence reports, Russia sent several S-300 batteries and spare parts in 2011, to help Assad fight the rebels who had begun attacking the regime.
In the latest deal, the report said, Syria will receive six launchers and 144 missiles, with a range of up to 300 kilometers. With the missiles, Assad will be able to hit rebel bases in the north of the country. Israeli experts quoted in the report said that Assad will be significantly strengthened if he gets the missiles.
Russia will also send several expert teams to help Syria deploy the missiles, the report said.
Russian officials did not respond to the report. A source in the Russian embassy in Washington said that Moscow generally did not comment on arms deals.