After a Russian military jet was accidentally shot down in a friendly fire last week, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced Russia is about to provide Syria with a modern S-300 air defense system, previously suspended at the request of Israel.
Russia accused Israel of ‘premediated actions’ over the downing of the Russian plane. Following strikes by Israeli F-16s in the province of Latakia, a Russian Il-20 plane was hit by a Syrian air defense missile, causing the death of 15 crew members.
Moscow has accused Israel’s pilots of using the returning to base Russian jet as a shield, which caused the Syrian defense system to register it as a target. Israel only gave one-minute warning before the fatal blow and failed to provide accurate information about where it planned its air strikes on Syrian targets.
Israel has lobbied against Syria becoming the S-300 air defence system from Russia, in fear it might affect its ability to track Iranian and Hezbollah forces.
‘In 2013, we were ready the supply the system to Syria’, said Sergei Shoigu, ‘but Israel asked us to suspend the system and we did so. Yet the situation is different now.’