Syria buying advanced Russian air-defense system - reports
Syria buying advanced Russian air-defense weapons
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Syria has already began payments for a $900 million purchase of an advanced air defense system from Russia and an initial delivery was due within three months, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday citing US officials.
Israel has asked Russia not to sell Syria the S-300, which would help President Bashar al-Assad fend off foreign military intervention, Israeli officials said on Thursday.
"We have raised objections to this (sale) with the Russians, and the Americans have too," an Israeli official told Reuters.
There was no immediate comment from Moscow or Damascus.
The S-300 is designed to shoot down planes and missiles at 200 kilometer ranges. It would enhance Syria's current Russian-supplied defenses, which did not deter Israel from launching devastating air strikes around Damascus last weekend.
In 2010, Russia backed out of a tentative S-300 sale to Iran that had been in the works for years. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cited U.N. sanctions imposed that year over Iran's defiance of international demands to curb its nuclear program.
Israel and the United States, which threaten military attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities if diplomatic alternatives fail, had lobbied Moscow to drop the deal with Tehran.
Israel reportedly attacked on Syrian soil twice over the weekend in a move that prompted demonstrations in front of Israeli embassies and UN headquarters across the region.
On Saturday, Israel carried out an air strike into Syria, supposedly targeting a shipment of missiles bound for Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.
A US official, who also declined to be identified, had told Reuters on Friday that the target was apparently a building.
The attack took place after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet approved it in a secret meeting on Thursday night, the security source said.
On Sunday, Israel struck a military facility overnight outside Damascus.
The official SANA news agency said Israel was responsible for the attack on the Jamraya military research center in the Eastern Ghouta region.
The attacks came as Israeli fighter jets flew over the Lebanese capital Beirut repeatedly the week prior.
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