Syrian FM: S-300 will respond to 'Israeli threats'

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem welcomes deliveries of Russian S-300 air defense systems to his country.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Walid Muallem
Walid Muallem

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Sunday welcomed the deliveries of the Russian S-300 air defense systems to his country, saying they were a "timely step."

"It is a system which is defensive in its nature rather than offensive, and it is intended for the defense of the Syrian airspace. If we analyze the importance of the Syrian airspace's protection, we will see that it reflects security and stability, but not a war. I would like to note that it is a very timely step and we are very grateful to Russia for its efforts," Muallem said, according to the Sputnik news agency.

Muallem also stressed that the systems have sufficient capacities to respond to Israeli threats to his country.

"In any case, the S-300 is enough to respond to these threats," he said in response to a question about Israeli threats in connection to Iran's presence on the Syrian territory.

The minister stressed that the Iranian servicemen were deployed to Syria territory on legitimate grounds and in an advisory capacity.

"The Syrian-Iranian relations are not a bargaining issue. These relations are based on the decisions of two sovereign states, defending their independent decision," he said.

Russia announced last week it would upgrade Syria’s anti-air defense network and send the S-300 system there, following the downing of a Russian military aircraft in Syrian airspace.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that delivery of the advanced missile system had begun.

Kan News reported on Saturday that Russia received $1 billion from Syria in payment for the S-300.

Israel has made repeated efforts to persuade Moscow not to sell the S-300s to Syria, as it fears this would hinder its aerial capabilities against arms shipments to the Hezbollah terrorist group.

The missile system, originally developed by the Soviet military, but since modernized and available in several versions with significantly different capabilities, fires missiles from trucks and is designed to shoot down military aircraft and short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Russia has previously provided Iran with the S-300 missile system.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)