Following an incident with a Russian Il-20 plane downed in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Moscow will deliver S-300 air defense systems to the country in order to "prevent ill-considered actions" threatening Russian servicemen.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that supplying the weapons systems to "irresponsible players" would increase security risks in the region, adding that Israel would continue to protect its security.
Commenting on the issue earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov noted that the S-300 supplies would not affect relations between Russia and Israel, stressing that Moscow and Damascus have a sovereign right to supply and purchase weapons.
Russia decided to boost security in Syria after the downing of an Il-20 aircraft with 15 servicemen on board near Hmeymim Airbase. According to the Russian military, four Israeli F-16 military jets, which were attacking Syrian targets in the province of Latakia, used the Il-20 as cover, thus subjecting it to an attack by the Syrian air defenses, which led to the catastrophe.
Moscow blamed Israel for the incident, stating that the Israeli Air Force provided Russia with misleading information on its operations in Syria and informed the Russian side about the attack just one minute prior to the airstrikes.
The Russian military may have already delivered a the S-300 missile defense system to the Syrian government, early reports indicate.
According to these early reports, at least two Russian cargo planes were spotted flying from the Mozdok Ossetia Airbase to the Hmeimim Airport in southwest Latakia.
As reported by Yoruk Isik of the Bosphorus Observer, two Ilyushin IL76MD multi-purpose four-engine airlifters made their way through Turkey until they reached the Hmeimim Airport.
These two cargo planes arrived at the Hmeimim Airport just hours before the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that they were going to supply Syria with the S-300 systems.
Following the announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin called his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad to discuss a number of topics, including the downing of the IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft last Monday.