Russia is ready to provide Syria with the air defense systems it needs if such an agreement is reached, Russian Senator Viktor Ozerov told Sputnik Saturday.
On Friday, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik in an interview that Damascus is interested in Russian next-generation air defense systems as over 50 percent of Syrian air defense weapons had been destroyed by terrorists. He added that Moscow and Damascus were holding talks on the supplies of additional air defense systems to war-torn Syria.
“The necessary quantity [of air defense systems] can be supplied on a priority basis, it will not require additional burden for the defense industry,” the chairman of the Russian upper house defense and security committee, Ozerov said.
According to him, “there is nothing special about such deliveries [if the deal is reached] as Syria is at war with terrorists and Russia helps it to fight terror.”
The Syrian government forces currently possess Soviet-made S-200 surface-to-air missile systems, also known as SA-5. The Soviet air defense complex is aimed to defend large spaces from potential enemy’s bombers and other strategic aircraft.
“It won’t violate the norms of the international law or the UN Security Council as air defense systems are defensive weapons, not offensive,” the Russian senator said.
When asked to comment on Assad’s statement, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he couldn’t comment on such issues at all. Damascus’ need in modern air defense systems apparently was driven by the US’ launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs on April 7.
US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria’s Idlib, which Washington blames on the Syrian government, a claim Damascus denies pointing out that it has no such weapons since mid-2014. Russia described the attack as an aggression against a sovereign state.