Russian Federation to provide Syria with new missile system, over Israeli opposition

Iraqi activist Hajjar Youssif hands out masks to protesters for a demonstration last week in Basra

Russian Federation indirectly blamed Israel, which had launched airstrikes against Syria in the area where the plane was operating, for the error.

The spokesman pointed that the Israeli F-16 fighter jet's pilot knew that Russia's Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft would be a preferred target for Syrian air defenses.

Israel's military said in a statement its jets "did not hide behind any aircraft and that the Israeli aircraft were in Israeli airspace at the time of the downing of the Russian plane".

In a telephone call held shortly after Russian Federation announced it would supply an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria within two weeks, Netanyahu also said he told Putin that Israel would continue to protect its security and interests.

Russian Federation had originally agreed to send the missiles to Syria in 2013 but rescinded that offer after Israel objected.

An official report from Moscow has laid the blame squarely at Israel's feet, however, raising the prospect that Russian Federation will close Syrian airspace to Israeli aircraft.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he expected to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in NY as Washington expressed concern at Moscow's plans to supply the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria.




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 global terrorism in Syria".

The incident was the deadliest case of friendly fire between Syria and its key backer Russian Federation since Moscow's game-changing 2015 military intervention.

Earlier on Monday, Moscow announced new security measures to protect its military in Syria, including supplying the Syrian army with an S-300 air defence system and jamming radars of nearby warplanes. Russian Federation blamed Israel for creating unsafe conditions that caused the crash. Syrian air-defense command units will be connected directly to Russian command posts with automated systems that at present are deployed only in Russian units, he said. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that the Russian deaths were "a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military".

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. Liability falls on Israel, the ministry said, because warning of the strike came just one minute in advance. "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.

Putin informed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about the missile delivery in a phone call on Monday, according to a statement issued by Syria's presidency.

Russian Federation first agreed to sell the S-300 system to Syria in 2010 but scrapped the plan at Israel's behest.

Bolton said a political process was needed but said Russia's plans on the missile system made that hard.

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