US: S-300 to Syria would be 'serious escalation'

State Department spokeswoman comments on Russia's delivery of S-300 missile systems to Syria, says it would be a concern if true.

Ben Ariel ,


US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert commented on Tuesday on Russia’s delivery of S-300 missile systems to Syria.

“I saw that report. I cannot confirm that that is accurate. I hope that they did not. That would be a – I think sort of a serious escalation in concerns and issues going on in Syria, but I just can’t confirm it, so I don’t have anything more for you on that right now,” said Nauert when asked about the subject at her daily press briefing.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the delivery of the system to Syria had been completed and that work on preparation and training of the crews will be completed by October 20.

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.