Russia Deploys S-400 Anti-aircraft System in Syria

Air-defense missiles have been stationed 50 kilometers from Turkey border following downing of Russian jet earlier this week.

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Russian S-400 missiles are unloaded in Syria.
Gili Cohen
The Associated Press

Russia deployed its S-400 air-defense missile system in Syria on Thursday, the state-run TAAS news agency reported.

"In accordance with the decision of Russia’s supreme commander-in-chief, an air defense complex S-400 has been promptly delivered to the Russian air base in Hmeimim in Syria," the news agency quoted Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov as saying.

"It has been deployed and entered combat duty to provide air defense for the area," he added.

The decision to deploy the long-range air defense missile system to its base in Syria was announced on Wednesday, following the downing of a Russian military jet by Turkey.

The incident was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane. If Russia responds by downing a Turkish plane, NATO member Turkey could proclaim itself under attack and ask the alliance for military assistance.

Russia's S-400 air-defense missile systems are stationed at the Hmeimim airbase in Syria on Nov. 26.Credit: AFP/Russian Defense Ministry

The S-400 missiles, which Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered sent to the Hmeimim air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia, just 50 kilometers away from the border with Turkey, are capable of striking targets within a 400-kilometer range with deadly precision.

The military also moved the navy missile cruiser Moskva closer to the shore to help protect Russian warplanes with its long-range Fort air defense system.

Russia's S-400 air-defense missile systems are loaded at the Hmeimim airbase in Syria on Nov. 26.Credit: AFP/Russian Defense Ministry

Meanwhile, an Israel Air Force officer told reporters that Russia's increased involvement in the Syrian civil war will not affect Israel's operations in the region.

Israel does not need anyone’s permission, including Russia’s, on where and when to act in the region, he said, reiterating that the two countries have set up a mechanism to prevent unintended clashes in the air as Russia operates in Syria.

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