Russia has lent support to strengthen Syrian military's air defense systems, which reports claim, is to offer protection against Israeli airstrikes.
The United States was informed before Russia began upgrading the military equipment, London-based Arabic language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported citing "well-informed" Russian sources.
This week alone, Syrian media reported two Israeli attacks which they claimed to be thwarted. The Syrian media made these such claims several times without outside confirmation.
In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Israel should provide his country with intelligence about such threats of “Iranian militia” so that it can “neutralize” them, criticizing Israeli airstrikes.
“If Israel is really forced to respond to threats to the Israeli security coming from the Syrian territory, we have told our Israeli colleagues many times: if you see such threats, please give us the information,” he was cited as saying at the time by Sputnik.
Lavrov’s remarks came after a heavy Israeli strike in eastern Syria, targeting positions and arms depots of Iran-backed forces and left at least 57 fighters killed and dozens wounded, according to a Syrian opposition war monitoring group.
A senior American intelligence official told the Associated Press (AP) that the airstrikes were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States.
Russia currently has two permanent military bases in Syria — an air base in western Syria's Latakia province and a naval base at Tartus on the Mediterranean coast.
The Syrian Air Defense Force controls four air defense corps, eleven air defense divisions and thirty-six air defense brigades, each with six SAM battalions. It is equipped with 650 static S-75 Dvina, S-125 Neva/Pechora and S-200 launchers, 300 mobile 2K12 Kub, Pantsir S-1 and Buk launchers and over 4,000 anti-aircraft guns ranging from 23mm to 100mm in caliber. There are also two independent 9K33 Osa SAM regiments, each with four batteries of 48 mobile SAMs. An unknown number of S-300 system were delivered to Syria in 2018.
The Syrian early warning system comprises Long Track; P-12 Spoon Rest; P-14 Tall King; H-15 Flat Face; P-30 Big Mesh; P-35 Bar Lock; P-80 Back Net; PRV-13; PRV-16 Thin Skin mobile and static radar sites throughout Syria.