This file photo shows a Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system.
A senior Russian official says Moscow would not hesitate to supply the Damascus government with the air defense missile systems it needs to protect war-ravaged Syria against any future foreign military aggression once a bilateral agreement is struck.
“The necessary quantity [of air defense systems] can be supplied on a priority basis. It will not place an onerous burden on our defense industry,” Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, told Sputnik news agency in an exclusive interview on Saturday.
He added, “There is nothing special about such deliveries [if the deal is reached] as Syria is at war with terrorists, and Russia helps it … fight terror.”
The Russian official further noted that the delivery of surface-to-air missile systems to the Syrian government was not in violation of UN Security Council resolutions as they were defensive not offensive in nature.
The remarks came a day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Damascus and Moscow were engaged in negotiations to put into operation more air defense systems inside Syria.
“Damascus has always been interested in the latest generation of military hardware, but that depends on the accessibility of the systems, Russia’s policies as the supplier and prices,” he said.
The Syrian president also warned of new allegations of chemical attacks in Syria similar to the claims made following the suspected chemical incident in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib Province on April 4, which reportedly killed over 80 people.
On April 7, the Pentagon said 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had been fired from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea at Shayrat airfield in Syria’s central province of Homs.
US officials claimed that the alleged chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun had been launched from the military site. Syria has vehemently dismissed the allegations of being behind the attack.
Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported that at least nine people had been killed in the early morning strike on the Syrian airfield.
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