MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military said Tuesday it had beefed up its forces in Syria with state-of-the-art air defense missiles, an announcement that follows Washington’s move to suspend contacts with Russia over Syria.
The deployment immediately raised questions in the Pentagon, which wondered about its purpose.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said a battery of the S-300 air defense missile systems had been sent to Syria to protect a Russian facility in the Syrian port of Tartus and Russian navy ships off the Mediterranean coast. Tartus is the only naval supply facility Russia has outside the former Soviet Union.
The deployment adds more punch to the Russian military force in Syria, which already includes long-range S-400 missile defense systems and an array of other surface-to-air missiles at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia.
Russia has conducted an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad since Sept. 30 2015, saving his army from imminent defeat and helping it win key ground.
The S-300 deployment was announced a day after the U.S. announced it was suspending direct diplomatic contacts with Russia on ending the war in Syria. Washington’s decision followed the collapse of the Russia-U.S.-brokered cease-fire in Syria and the Syrian army’s onslaught on Aleppo backed by Russian warplanes.
SOURCES: News Now/Yahoo News Online