White House & Pentagon Warn Russia, Iran on Syria

Pauline Gross
September 25, 2018

Russia blamed Israel for the incident, which led to the deaths of more than a dozen Russian airmen.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday that supplying advanced weapon systems to "irresponsible players" would increase dangers in the region, Netanyahu's office said. Last week, using older S-200 surface-to-air missile defences, Syrian air defence forces accidentally shot down a Russian Il-20 electronic intelligence plane during an Israeli missile attack.

The Syrian air defences were attempting to target Israeli F-16 jets, according to Russian military. "The party responsible for the attacks in Syria and Lebanon and really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran", he said.

A Syrian air defense missile downed the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 military plane on September 17, killing all 15 soldiers aboard and threatening to damage relations between Russia and Israel, which three years ago set up a hotline to avoid accidental clashes in Syria. Russian Federation will also jam the electronic communications of aircraft attacking targets in Syria, he said.

Bolton then pivoted the blame to Iran, which has sent troops, weapons, and cash to the Assad regime throughout the war, raising concerns in Israel that Tehran was establishing bases on its northern border.

In a televised address, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the new system would provide "adequate retaliatory measures to increase the safety of Russian military fighting worldwide terrorism in Syria".

"A modern S-300 air defence missile system will be transferred to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks", he said, significantly increasing the combat capabilities of President Bashar Al Assad's forces.

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Shoigu said that "the situation has changed, and it's not our fault", adding that the supply of an S-300 would "calm down some hotheads" whose actions "pose a threat to our troops".

The Kremlin said on Monday that the Israeli explanation "differs from the conclusions of Russian Ministry of Defense" and that the actions of Israel's pilots were the "root cause for the tragedy". Earlier in the war, Russian Federation suspended a supply of S-300, which Israel feared Syria could use against it.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday that the United States wouldn't be leaving Syria so long as Iranian forces continued to operate there, suggesting the Trump administration had embraced an expanded mission in the embattled country beyond the defeat of the Islamic State.

But Shoigu said that the Israeli military warned Russian Federation about last week's strike just one minute before launching it and claimed it was being conducted in Syria's north.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow's decision does not target a third country. Moscow has tried to maintain good relations with Iran, which is also allied with the Syrian government, and Israel, which is wary of Iran's growing influence in Syria.

Russian antiicraft missile systems - the S-300, right, and the S-400 - on display at a military industrial exhibition in Zhukovsky, in the Moscow region, on August 14, 2014.

Other reports by GizPress

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