Has Syria become Putin's political juggernaut?

Russia again says Israel is to blame for the downing of its military plane by Syrian forces - Los Angeles Time

Shoigu said Russian Federation will also jam military aircraft communications in the airspace next to Syria over the Mediterranean Sea, while upgrading Syria's air-defense command systems.

"The information provided by the Israeli military... runs counter to conclusions of the Russian defense ministry", the Kremlin said of the content of Putin's remarks in the call, adding that the actions of the Israeli pilots had led to the plane being targeted by Syrian air defense systems.

President Trump's top advisor on national security matters also reiterated his warning that any future chemical weapons attack attributed to the Syrian military - a basis already cited twice for recent U.S. airstrikes on Syria - would be met with a harsh response.

Russian Federation plans to deploy the S-300s, which will replace less-effective S-200 systems, in the next fortnight and defence analysts believe it will pose a significantly increased danger to Israeli aircraft seeking to attack Syrian targets.

Israel has long called on Russian Federation not to provide the S-300 system to Syria and in 2013, the Kremlin agreed to put a deal to deliver them on hold.

According to Shoigu, an Israeli F-16 jet used the Russian Il-20 aircraft as a shield, which resulted in the downing of the plane by Syrian air defense systems and the killing of 15 Russian servicemen.

"We are convinced that these measures will calm down some hotheads and keep them from careless actions which pose a threat to our troops", Mr Shoigu said. "This compelled us to take reasonable measures in response, meant to improve the safety of Russian soldiers". "It could cause a reaction by Israel or the USA, including attempts to destroy the system before it's operational".

The White House said it hoped Russian Federation would reconsider the move, which U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton called a "significant escalation" of Syria's seven-year war.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Putin on Monday that "transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region".

However, the radar data shows the Israeli jet fighters had continued to patrol the area off the Syrian coast following the incident, Konashenkov said.

Putin has described the incident as a "chain of tragic accidental circumstances". But he also repeated Moscow's accusations that Israel was to blame for the plane's downing: "No doubt that according to our military experts, deliberate action by Israeli pilots was the reason for the tragedy and this can not but harm our (Russia-Israeli) ties".

It was the deadliest known case of friendly fire between Syria and key backer Russian Federation since Moscow's game-changing 2015 military intervention.

Last week's downing has put Russia's relationship with Israel to a test.

Assad has been eyeing a purchase of the more advanced S-300 systems for years.

It seems clear however, that for Russian Federation, the transfer of the S-300 at this stage of the Syrian conflict is to save face.

"The command posts of Syrian air defense forces and units will be equipped with automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces".

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