ISRAEL (OBSERVATORY) – Tel-Aviv is concerned about possible Russian deliveries of S-300 Favorit anti-aircraft systems to Syria, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said. Two Russian sources said yesterday that the issue of sending these systems to the Syrian army was “practically solved”.
At the same time, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, it is still necessary to wait for concrete decisions to be taken by Russia with Syrian representatives, according to Kommersant.
Israel expresses concern over the possible delivery of Russian S-300s to Syria, said Alexandre Ben-Zvi, Deputy Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Eurasia.
“Any kind of weaponry that threatens Israel’s security concerns us,” he answered the question of what Israel thought of any Russian S-300 supplies to Syria.
We learned yesterday that these deliveries could take place soon. Already in 2010, Damascus had signed a contract to buy these anti-aircraft systems but at the implementation stage, this contract was canceled at the request of Israel, which was worried about its airspace. This time, according to sources, it is planned to deliver Favorit for free. Two military-diplomatic sources say that the issue of S-300 delivery to the Syrian army, which is “essentially political,” is virtually solved.
The statements on the S-300’s deliverance in Damascus were made hours after the massive US, UK and French strikes against Syria on April 14, 2018. The first to react was the head of the Operational Direction of the Russian Armed Forces Staff Sergei Rudskoy: “Given the events, we consider it possible to return to the study of this question – and not only with regard to Syria, but also to other States “. On April 16, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov supported this position in an interview with the BBC: “To help the Syrian army withhold aggression, we are ready to study all the necessary measures.” April 20 , he directly stated that after the last bombing of Syria “we do not”
Alexander Ben-Zvi did not answer the question of whether Israel intended to discuss the issue of S-300 supplies during talks with Russian officials. At the same time, he noted that “issues related to the Syrian conflict were constantly raised during meetings of Israeli politicians and diplomats at the Foreign Ministry and the Russian Security Council”.
The deliveries of S-300 could prevent Israel from attacking Syria, as it has done several times during the Syrian conflict. Israel is concerned about the presence of Hezbollah units of the Lebanese Shiite movement in Syrian territory, as well as – as the Israeli authorities say – Iranian military bases. On April 9, Israel bombed the largest Syrian air base of al-Tifor (T-4) in the Syrian province of Homs near Palmyra. Israel did not claim that attack and the Russian military was held responsible. The Israeli ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“This was not the first time our ambassador had been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry. There are issues that need to be settled bilaterally. There are remarks on the Russian side, there are comments on our side. But these issues are evoked almost daily permanently, relations with Russia do not change, they are good. And they will remain so, “said Alexandre Ben-Zvi.
Ksenia Svetlova, an Israeli MP from the opposition Zionist Camp, told the Israeli media that she was concerned about the press releases on the preparation of S-300 supplies: “This is a very dangerous and worrying development. In recent years, Prime Minister Netanyahu has boasted several times of his close ties with the Russian president, but obviously his frequent trips to Russia have not been helpful in promoting Israel’s interests.”
At the same time, on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the issue of the supply of S-300s in Syria was still unresolved. “I can not say that it is settled … We have to wait for the concrete decisions that will be taken by the Russian authorities with the Syrian representatives. It probably does not involve any secrets, all this can be announced,” he said.