Moscow says it won’t supply advanced air defenses to Syria
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Moscow says it won’t supply advanced air defenses to Syria

Days after Netanyahu visits Russia and Israel strikes Iranian bases, aide to Putin says there’s no talk of sending S-300 missiles to Assad

A Russian-made S-300 air defense system on display for the annual Defense Week, marking the 37th anniversary of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, September 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
A Russian-made S-300 air defense system on display for the annual Defense Week, marking the 37th anniversary of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, September 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

An aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow has no current plans to supply an advanced air defense system to Syria.

Vladimir Kozhin, a member of Putin’s inner circle, told the Russian newspaper Izvestia that there has been no talk of delivering the S-300 system to Damascus.

“So far, there has been no talk of deliveries of modern new systems,” he said, adding that the Assad regime has “all that is needed.”

Kozhin’s comments come a day after Israel destroyed many of Syria’s defenses, as it bombed Iranian targets within Syria.

The sortie came after Iran fired 20 missiles toward Israel just after midnight on Thursday morning, the IDF said. Four of the missiles were knocked down by the Iron Dome air defense system and the rest failed to reach Israeli territory, according to the military.

Vladimir Kozhin, aide to Russian President Vladimir Purin, interviewed on December 22, 2017. (Screen capture: VBOX7)

According to the IDF, its strikes targeted the Russian-made long-range SA-5, also known as the S-200, which is the predecessor of the more advanced S-300 and S-400; the Russian high-altitude SA-2, or S-75; the Russian short-to-medium range SA-22, also known as the Pantsir-S1; and the SA-17 medium-range air defense system, also known as the Buk.

Kozhin’s comments also come two days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Russia for talks with Putin focusing on “ensuring ongoing military cooperation in Syria.”

Just before Netanyahu met with Putin, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said that a decision had not yet been made on supplying Syria with advanced air defense systems.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin seen during a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, on May 9, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Russian officials had said over the past few weeks that Moscow was ready to supply Syria with new air defense capabilities — possibly including the powerful S-300 system.

Early Thursday morning, Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter jets bombed over 50 Iranian targets throughout Syria in an extensive campaign, dubbed “Operation House of Cards,” to try and destroy Iran’s military presence in the country, the army said.

The mission — the largest air campaign carried out by Israel in Syria in over 40 years — was “very successful,” a senior air force officer said Thursday, but warned that Israel believes that Iranian forces in Syria are still in possession of surface-to-surface missiles that could again be fired at Israel.

Judah Ari Gross, Stuart Winer and agencies contributed to this report.

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