When we commented yesterday on the latest report that the US is once again contemplating launching a military operation targeting the Assad regime with months of faux diplomacy having irrevocable broken down between John Kerry and his Russian colleague Lavrov, we said that "since the report is, at least for now, just a trial balloon to gauge the Russian reaction to a potential US military incursion, we now wait to see what Putin's reaction to the possibility of a US military campaign in Syria will be." We got the answer overnight when Russia's Defense Ministry said that a battery of Russian S-300 air defense missile launchers has been transported to Syria. Its sole purpose is to defend a Russian naval base and warships, the ministry added.
The information about the S-300’s deployment was confirmed by ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
“Indeed, the Syrian Arab Republic received an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. This system is designed to ensure the safety of the naval base in [Syrian city of] Tartus and ships located in the coastal area [in Syria]…” he told the media.
Konashenkov said it is unclear why the deployment of the missile system has created such a fuss in the West.
"The S-300 is a purely defensive system and poses no threat,” he said. Of course, a defense system is precisely what the Pentagon would prefer to avoid in case an offensive attack was launched.
Konashenkov said that he recalled that before the deployment of S-300, Russia had delivered Fort air defense missile systems to Syria. The statement comes after a report by Fox news that a Russian S-300 was deployed to Syria. The media cited three US officials who claimed that Moscow “continues to ramp up its military operations in Syria.”
As RT adds, in November 2015, Moscow deployed its newest S-400 air defense missile system to Khmeimim in Syria as part of a security boost following the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey near the border with that country. At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the S-400 systems are not targeting Russia's partners, “with whom we fight terrorists in Syria together.” The S-400 is the most advanced anti-aircraft defense system in Russia.