'It's highly doubtful that the Syrian army, in its current situation, is able to invest the manpower and resources' to learn to use the S-300
On Friday, I reported that Russia has not been persuaded to cancel the supply of the S-300 anti-missile system
to Syria. But according to an Israeli military expert, it may not matter. The Syrian army is not in a position to learn how to use
the fancy new weapon.
Yiftah Shapir, director of the
military balance project at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel
Aviv, published a paper on the system in which he argued that “it is highly
doubtful that the Syrian army, in its current situation, is able to invest the
manpower and resources” to learn how to use the S-300.
doubted that Syria can, at this time, set up the facilities to make the S-300
operational on its soil.
Those factors could prompt Assad to try and send
the S-300 to a “safer place,” to Hezbollah’s custody in Lebanon, although this
is unlikely to happen, Shapir said.
Hezbollah has the ability to send
technicians to Russia to study the S-300, and store it in a safe location in
Lebanon. However, Israel would almost certainly reject such a development, and
A third option, that Russia will send its own crews to
operate the S-300 on Syrian soil, is also unlikely, due to the dangers they
would face from rebels and “a third party,” Shapir said.
Assad is seeking
the air defenses now because of the recent air strikes in Syria – one in January
and two this month – attributed by foreign media sources to Israel.
strikes “demonstrated to Assad what his vulnerabilities are,” Shapir
“At this stage, it is difficult to know whether
Russia intends to proceed with the deal and sell the systems to Syria... or
whether all of the maneuvers of recent weeks are empty... and aimed at
demonstrating Russia’s determination to support Assad, while sending a message
to Israel that there is a heavy price for its attacks in Syria,” Shapir said.
Labels: Bashar al-Assad, IAF, Russia, S-300 missile defense system, Syria, Syrian uprising