Assad: The Russian Missiles Are Here
He says in interview to air on Hezbollah TV channel
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2013 6:34 AM CDT
Updated May 30, 2013 7:51 AM CDT
This Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009 file photo shows Syrian President Bashar Assad.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

(Newser) – On the one hand, it's a fairly expected announcement: On the heels of Russia's confirmation of a missile deal with Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has confirmed that the initial shipment of S-300 air defense missiles was in fact delivered to his country, with the second portion of the order arriving today. But Assad's statement, made in an interview to air today on Al Manar TV, and reaction to it bear some noteworthy aspects:

  • As the New York Times points out, Al Manar is a channel run by Hezbollah, and that choice of delivery method, in the Times' view, only enhances "the confrontational atmosphere" of Assad's statements.
  • The interview was actually taped on Tuesday, according to a Beirut source. That same day, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon firmly denied a weapons delivery had occurred, warning Russia that such a move could spur Israel to retaliate. "If, by some fortune, [the missiles] arrive in Syria, we will know what to do," he said.
  • Per the AP, the next day, Syria's foreign minister said in a TV interview that Damascus "will retaliate immediately" if Israel strikes Syrian soil again. (Reuters notes Israel has thus far launched three airstrikes against Syria in a bid to stop weapons transfers.)
  • But the AP notes that with the S-300 system in hand, the Israeli air force's abilities are curtailed, as the S-300s will allow Syria to counter airstrikes launched from foreign airspace.
  • What exactly are the S-300 systems capable of? A second Israeli minister says they have a range of up to 185 miles; the AP, which puts their range at 125 miles, reports they're able to track and strike multiple targets simultaneously.
  • What does Israel have to say about all this? No statement has been issued yet.

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May 30, 2013 11:26 PM CDT
Israel will win any contest thrown at them. 1492
May 30, 2013 6:22 PM CDT
When are these people going to finally kill each other off so the world community can go in there and plant tree seedlings so we can start pulling out CO2 from the atmosphere and bring nature back to balance? If there's any region that needs the full enactment of Agenda 21 it's that one!
May 30, 2013 4:47 PM CDT
The Israeli ruling regime started it. American taxpayers flow over three billion dollars each and every year to Israel, then Israel uses that money to purchase American latest war aircraft at huge discounts. Israel then uses this U. S. supplied air capability to bomb Syria without any justifiable provocation. Syria obtains some air defense missiles and tells Israel "do not bomb us again, if you do we will defend ourselves." We have simpleton posters here on Newser protesting that the Syrian government does not have a right to do that. If you repeatly attack someone, as Israel has done, do you not think it quite natural for them to take steps to defend themselves from your attacks ??