Russian Federation to provide Syria with new missile system, over Israeli opposition

Pompeo: U.S. may hold Russia accountable for chemical weapons in Syria

National security adviser John Bolton said Monday that delivery of the Russian S-300 would be a "significant escalation" in already high tensions in the region and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would raise the matter this week with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at the U.N. General Assembly.

Russian officials said Syria's Soviet-made S-200 systems, one of which downed the Russian plane, weren't sophisticated enough to identify the Russian aircraft as a friendly one.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow had in the past obliged Israel by refraining from supplying Syria with the system.

Shoigu said that "the situation has changed, and it's not our fault", adding that the supply of an S-300 would "calm down some hotheads" whose actions "pose a threat to our troops". "The party responsible for the attacks in Syria and Lebanon and really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran", he said.

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Russian Federation indirectly blamed Israel, which had launched airstrikes against Syria in the area where the plane was operating, for the error.

Russia's stepped-up role in Syria enabled Assad's forces, which had been losing ground to the armed opposition, to gain the upper hand in the war and reclaim wide swaths of territory held by the rebels. The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday Sept. 23, 2018, has renewed its accusations against Israel for causing the downing of a Russian military plane over Syria.

Putin also spoke by phone with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss the move.

Assad expressed his condolences for the deaths of the Russian airmen, saying they were "carrying out noble mission, fighting terrorism in Syria". It is possible that these aircraft delivered of the S-300 air defense systems to Syria.

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The S-300 missile system, originally developed by the Soviet military, but since modernized and available in several versions with significantly different capabilities, fires missiles from trucks and is created to shoot down military aircraft and short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Last week's downing has put Russia's relationship with Israel to the test. More broadly, Israel also sees Russian Federation as key to protecting its interests in Syria by preventing a build up of Iranian-linked bases and infrastructure.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces maintained its version of events - that the Russian reconnaissance plane was shot down as a result of indiscriminate Syrian anti-aircraft fire - and said it would continue to act to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining advanced weapons.

Israel, by contrast, said that its air force hadn't violated any agreements with Russian Federation and that Israeli jets had already returned to Israeli airspace when the missiles were launched.

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Last week, Russian military spokesman Maj.

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