One of the S-300 aerial defense batteries deployed in Syria has been documented in an image produced by an Israeli-made satellite. The images show the battery’s four launchers and the satellite’s manufacture, ImageSat International, believes it is not currently operational because some components are still missing.
The battery is deployed in the Maysaf area north of the city of Homs in the northern part of the country. There is a network of Syrian security industries in this area, where Iran and Syria are reportedly attempting to manufacture precise weaponry for Hezbollah. According to Arab media reports the area has been attacked by Israel several times in recent years.
The process of training Syrian soldiers to be stationed at the missile batteries is expected to take some time, and the new batteries have not yet reached operational readiness.
Over the weekend the Russian daily Izvestia reported that the three aerial defense systems that Russia supplied to Syria in late September following the downing of a Russian plane, are of the more advanced version of the S-300 missiles, which has higher radar and target identification capabilities. It was also reported that at least in the first stage, the batteries will be operated by Russian specialists.
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Israeli defense officials believe that the Israel Air Force can, if needed, overcome the new batteries and attack more targets in Syria.
In recent weeks, as reported in Haaretz, Russia has taken a more aggressive stand toward Israel with regard to Israel Air Force action in northern Syria. The Russians are demanding more clarifications from the Israeli army via a hotline to prevent aerial friction between the sides. In a few cases, the radar of Russian defense systems in Syria has been activated in the context of Israel Air Force actions in the north.