The Russian Defense Ministry released a video Tuesday night of the delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria. Russian crewmembers appear to be unloading of the launcher, the radar and the commanding control vehicle.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during a meeting broadcasted by Rossiya 24 TV on Tuesday that Russia successfully delivered the S-300s to Syria.. "The work was finished a day ago," Shoigu said.
Meanwhile, Iranian forces have started retreating over the past couple of days from the T-4 military airport, the Al-Quds newspaper reported Wednesday, citing Syrian opposition sources.
According to the report, the Iranians have started vacating the premises of the base, which is situated on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Homs, to make room for Russian forces who entered the military compound
in order to help complete the transfer of the S-300 missiles.
The Russians have also reportedly asked to see Syrian presence reduced in the airport nearby, which is considered to be one of the most highly-guarded strategic sites in Syria.
On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow had already started delivering the S-300 air defense systems to Syria's government. He added that "the measures we will take will be devoted to ensure 100 percent safety and security of our men in Syria, and we will do this."
Russia announced last week that it would supply the anti-aircraft missiles after Syrian forces responding to an Israeli airstrike on September 17 mistakenly shot down a Russian military reconnaissance plane, killing all 15 people on board.
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The friendly fire incident sparked regional tensions. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin to express sorrow at the loss of life and sent a high-level military delegation to Moscow.
Last week, an Israeli official said that the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles are "a complicated challenge" for Israel. he official added: "We're dealing with it in different ways, not necessarily by preventing the delivery."
According to the official, Russian President Vladimir Putin updated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the fact that he intends to send the missiles to Syria within two weeks, and then acted accordingly.Israel has meanwhile clarified to Putin that it will continue to act within Syrian territory and U.S. President Donald Trump has stated that his country fully supports Israel's actions as well as its right to defend itself.
"Putin made a move, but it's a big playing field and he understands that," the official said.
Also last week, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said that "Israel, which has gotten used to carrying out attacks under various pretexts, will now have to weigh and rethink before attacking again."
Mekdad told the Chinese news agency Xinhua. "The aggression against Syria is directed towards the forces that are fighting against terrorism in Syria. If Israel will try to attack we will defend our people as we did in the past."
A spokesman for a Russian company producing electronic warfare systems said last Friday that their deployment to Syria will help protect the country's air defense assets and fend off enemy air raids.
Vladimir Mikheyev of Radioelectronics Technologies in remarks carried by the Interfax news agency that Krasukha and Zhitel electronic countermeasure units will place Syria's air defenses under an "electronic umbrella," making it hard to spot and attack them.
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