MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. The deployment of state-of-the-art Russian air defense missile systems in Syria will have a favorable effect on the situation in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told a news conference in Damascus on Monday.
"Not only Syria will feel safer owing to supplies of S-300 air defense missile systems, " said Muallem, also Deputy Prime Minister. "The deployment of this defense weapon will help make the situation more stable and safe across the Middle East," he added.
Following the incident with the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft in Syria, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on September 24 that Russia would supply S-300 missile defense systems to the Syrian army. It has already supplied 49 units of hardware within the framework of S-300 supplies. Russian specialists will train Syrian military to use the missile systems.
The electronic surveillance Il-20 plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea late on September 17 when it was flying back to the Russian airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian defense ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense complex when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia governorate. The Israeli pilots actually hid behind the Russian plane exposing it to Syrian missiles, the ministry stressed. Fifteen Russian servicemen who were onboard the plane were killed.