DANGER? S-300 Delivery to Syria Increases US Risk, says State Department

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The delivery of Russia’s S-300 air defense systems to the Syrian government will increase the risk against the US-led coalition, a State Department official said on Monday.

“Russia’s delivery of improved air defense systems to the Assad regime will only increase the risk of escalating the conflict in an already dangerous environment and will increase the risk to the US and its partner forces conducting an operation against ISIS in Syria,” said the official of the State Department.

“This also reaffirms the maintenance of Russia’s protection of Assad’s regime and its responsibility for the actions of the regime,” he added.

On September 17, a Russian aircraft of the Il-20 model was downed by Syria’s air defense system while returning to Hmeimim’s base, about 35km off the coast, according to the official story. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, four Israeli F-16s, targeting Syria in Latakia province, used the Il-20 as a shield, leaving it vulnerable to Syrian air defense attacks and caused the incident. The fall of Il-20 left 15 Russian soldiers dead.

The US State Department official recalled that it was Syria’s anti-aircraft defense system that brought down the Russian aircraft.

“Positioning even more air defenses will not solve the problem of unprofessional and indiscriminate missile launches by Syria, and will not reduce the risk to regional aviation,” the official said.

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He also said that the death of the Russian crew is “unfortunate incident”

“It points out that many conflicts in the region need permanent and peaceful political resolutions in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254,” the official said.

Earlier on Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced measures to increase the safety of Russian soldiers in response to the fall of the Il-20 military aircraft, to which Russia attributes responsibility to Israel.

Shoigu explained that Russia will equip the command posts of Syrian air defense forces, which already operated with Russian satellite navigation systems. In addition, they would also equip radar stations and on-board systems, which would be complemented by the introduction of S-300 air defense systems.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Vladimir Putin that the delivery of weapons systems to what he called “irresponsible agents” would increase security risks in the region.

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