Syria's Assad threatens Israel with Russian S300 missiles

Fears that delivery of new weapons to Syria could spark new war and shift the balance of power

LAST UPDATED AT 08:57 ON Fri 31 May 2013

TENSIONS in war-torn Syria have escalated even further after President Bashar al-Assad warned Israel that his troops would respond to air strikes and implied that he was now in possession of Russian anti-aircraft missiles.
 
The threat came in a TV interview with Lebanon's Hezbollah-linked al-Manar station, which was also broadcast on Syrian state media. In it Assad warned that his government, which is already waging a bloody civil war, would "respond to any strike [in Syria] with a similar strike".
 
It remains unclear whether the batch of S300 missiles, which were ordered from Moscow in 2007, had finally been delivered. But Assad cut a confident figure and claimed to have scored significant victories over rebel forces in the country's civil war. He said the Syrian army now held "the balance of power" in that conflict.
 
Assad also appeared to aim another threat at his neighbour Israel, which has launched airstrikes against Syria to stop them arming Hezbollah in Lebanon. He claimed there had been calls in Syria to open a military front against Israel on the border they share. "There is clear popular pressure to open a new front of resistance in the Golan," he said.
 
According to The Guardian, Assad's threats are "likely to dramatically increase tensions in the region... which could provoke the Israelis to launch a future strike against the weapons". It even warns that the arms deal could trigger a new war between Syria and Israel.
 
The S300 deal is certainly significant. If and when the missiles do arrive it could "change the balance of power in the region," according to The Times.
 
"Assad's boast comes days after the European Union lifted an arms embargo on Syria — paving the way for individual countries of the bloc to send weapons to rebel fighters, and raising fears of an arms race in the region that could draw in outside powers," the paper adds.
 
The Daily Telegraph agrees. "The S300, seen as a game-changer in any potential conflict with Mr Assad's potential enemies, would be a major obstacle to a no-fly zone and shows Russia's determination to defend Mr Assad at all costs," it says.
 
The BBC notes that Assad has also said he would "in principle" attend a peace conference backed by the US and Russia in Geneva. However, rebel groups within Syria say they will not attend until government massacres come to an end. · 

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maybe he threats (with a defensive weapon!) but the truth is that Syria has been attacked twice recently by Israel (and not the reverse). So please stop with your misleading headlines.

What a misleading headline! This can't be inadvertent. How does "respond to any strike [in Syria] with a similar strike" translate into "Assad threatens Israel with Russian S300 missles"? Especially, when S300 was not even mentioned and our intelligence agencies are telling us the system has not been even delivered yet. Besides, Assad is saying to Israel - you hit me again, I will hit you back. Is that a 'threat' or a warning?

Did not know you too do Israel's bidding.

...absolutely right, Mounadil - these are DEFENSIVE weapons - they are NOT intended, or designed for, use against Israeli territory - no matter how much the ill-informed media (or mischievous media) would have us believe otherwise.

It is manifestly obvious that Israel presumes the inalienable right to intervene in its neighbours internal affairs, under the excuse of "threats to our territorial integrity" - for that, of course, read Hisbollah.

The two main purposes of acquiring the S 300 AA missiles are to demonstrate the will to deter and, if necessary, defeat a "no fly" zone imposed by Israel and/or the West - the S 300's will prove to be problematic, at least - and the other is to underline Russia's ongoing commitment to its strategic regional ally and, by extension, its own strategic interests.

Russia has more to lose in this game of escalation than the West has to gain - Cameron, Hague, Sen McCain, Netanyahu et al seem not to be able to grasp that fundamental fact of life. The Russians, therefore, remain determined to steer events accordingly and who can blame them?

Mounding, Chris and injun, the S300 has a range which can reach well into Israeli territory and also attack civilian aircraft, so it is certainly not defensive. But
It boggles the mind that you can show such support for the murderous Assad regime. 80,000 Syrians dead and you support this devil incarnate

Ramy - "... has a range..." is very similar to saying a butterknife has an edge. Not dissimilar to the infamous "45 minute WMDs of Saddam".
Israel is perfectly happy with Basher's regime on their northern border and have held the Golan Heights for decades, from whence it is possible to shell Damascus.
Neither country would remain peaceful if Salfist/Wahabists take over Syria.

Amphibious, I'm not arguing that point but what I am saying is that it is incorrect, to label the S300 missile as a purely defensive weapon.

WHO WRITES THIS? DO you have any integrity? That is not what the man said.

The US killed 600,000 of its citizens in its civil war so it could have a leviathan central government while it had only 1/3 greater population than Syria has now and yet we Americans worship Lincoln. Maybe Assad is the father of Syria the way we look at Lincoln as being one of our nation's fathers. That Assad is called a mass murderer while Lincoln is called a saint exposes the cult of Lincoln.

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