Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar Al-AssadAFP photo

Sources in Moscow have confirmed that Syrian President Bashar Assad was bluffing when he claimed that S-300 anti-aircraft missiles had already been delivered.

The S-300s that Russia has promised Syria will be delivered only in 2014, they said.

The Russian daily Kommersant quoted a senior diplomatic source as saying that the delivery would take place sometime in the second quarter of next year.

After that, it will take another six months to make the missiles operational, he said. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned that Israel will not allow the missiles to become operational, implying that Israel would destroy them in an airstrike after delivery.

United States officials said Thursday that Assad was bluffing about possessing S-300s.

Former defense minister, MK Fouad Ben-Eliezer of the Labor party, warned Friday that S-300s would pose a real threat to Israel. “S-300s finding their way into the hands of Hizbullah would pose a serious threat,” he told IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal).

“It’s a threat because we aren’t talking about a state entity,” he continued. “The minute S-300s start moving toward Hizbullah – Israel has every right to protect itself and its residents.”

Russia has also agreed to sell Syria ten MIG fighter aircraft.