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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Source of report on Syria getting S-300: Assad himself

The source for the earlier report that Syria has already received the Russian S-300 missile system is Bashar al-Assad himself, in an interview to be broadcast Thursday evening on Lebanon's and Hezbullah's al-Manar television. Here are more details.
Syria received the first shipment of long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia, and would receive the rest "soon," Syrian President Bashar Assad told Lebanese network Al Manar, Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported.
In an interview set to air on the Hezbollah TV network on Thursday evening, Assad repeated past threats to respond immediately should Israel strike in Syria.
He added that the Syrian government will not stand in the way of any Syrian groups that would attack Israel in order to liberate the Golan Heights.
Russia has said it would deliver the missile system to the Syrian government over Western objections, saying the move would help stabilize the regional balance.
The United States, France and Israel have all called on Russia to stop the delivery.
Note that he said that Syria 'received' the missiles - not that they have been deployed. It's been reported in the past that it would take 'months' to manufacture the missiles and for Syrian technicians to be trained to deploy them.
“It will take months to manufacture the missiles and to assemble them into an integrated operating system,” Ruslan Aliev, a Russian weapons researcher, told the newspaper.

In addition, Syrian troops would have to fly to Russia to train on the missiles because it would be impractical to send experts into the Syrian conflict zone, he said.

According to the report, there are also doubts whether Syria, battered by more than two years of conflict, still has the means to pay. 
So let's assume the worst case scenario: The missiles were manufactured, Russia has decided to be charitable or to extend credit to Assad, and to send its own troops into Syria to operate them. This is a 'system' and it sounds like the system isn't deployed yet.

There's still time to stop it.

Or Russia could deny the report.... 

What could go wrong?

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