Russia has upgraded the Syrian army’s missile capabilities Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu disclosed, during a briefing, that four new S-300 anti-aircraft launchers were delivered to Syria on Monday.
"The work was finished a day ago," Shoigu appraised Russian President Vladimir Putin during the October 2 meeting, according to Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov. Radars and support vehicles were also included in the upgrade to the system.
Along with implementing significant improvement to Syria's missile defenses, Moscow announced that Russia would also begin jamming the radars of hostile warplanes near Syria, including over the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel and the United States have voiced strong objections to the upgrade of Damascus' anti-aircraft capabilities.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton remarked that the decision to deliver the weapons to Syria would cause a "significant escalation" in the decades-long civil war.
Meanwhile, Israel - that continues to bombs Iranian targets in Syria - stated that giving the S-300 to "irresponsible actors" would make the volatile region even more dangerous. "We have not changed our strategic line on Iran," Israeli minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday. "We will not allow Iran to open up a third front against us. We will take actions as required."
Putin, on the other hand, explained that it will take up to three months to train Syrian personnel to operate the new system. The Russian president added that the delivery was to protect Russian military personnel in Syria, where Moscow maintains an airbase.
Two weeks ago, a Russian Il-20 aircraft was shot down, resulting in the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen. The United States claims Syria is to be blamed. Some 112 Russian military personnel have been killed so far in Syria, a Russian lawmaker said.
Overall, 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict and millions more displaced.