Russia still set to sell advanced missiles to Syria

Sunday, May 26, 2013 |  Israel Today Staff

Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Israeli officials on Sunday said that Russia has not struck a deal with Jerusalem that would halt the sale of advanced Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

London's Sunday Times cited unnamed Israeli sources as saying that a meeting last week between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had resulted in a cancellation of the planned sale.

In return for the cancellation, Russia had reportedly elicited Israel's promise to not carry out any more air strikes inside Syria.

But another unnamed senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel that the earlier report was a "fairy tale," and that the sale of Russia's S-300 anti-aircraft system to Syria had not been canceled.

The official did say, however, that he believed Russia would ultimately not provide the system to embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, but only after extracting more concessions from Israel.

Meanwhile, Israeli Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar told Arutz Sheva radio that if and when Assad's downfall becomes inevitable, the Syrian leader could opt to lash out in all directions to secure his place in the history books.

"It could be that Assad, when he sees that everything is finished, will fire whatever he can in all directions - toward Turkey, maybe to Lebanon, maybe here as well," said Kedar.

Israel Today reported last week that Syria had already aimed the bulk of its considerable ballistic missile arsenal at Israel.

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