On Tuesday a series of leaked photos were posted online showing that the S-300 missile defense system may have already been delivered to Syria despite the Russian Ministry of Defense previously suggesting a roughly two week timeline.
As Al Masdar News reports, at least three photos were posted by Uralinform.Ru, showing the arrival of the Krasukha 4 electronic suppression of navigation and communication systems, touching down via Russian transport aircraft inside Syria on Monday night.
According to the author of the Russia-based publication, the Russian military has already delivered the S-300 hardware to Syria via a Russian-made aircraft from Mozdok Airport in the North Ossetian region. Likely the "leaked" photos are intentionally meant as public signalling to Israel that advanced S-300 deterrence is already fast being established.
This comes after Russia early this week effectively declared a no-fly-zone over Latakia Province — which is the location of Russia's Hmeymim airbase and the general area of last Tuesday's large scale Israeli attack which resulted in a "friendly fire" downing of a Russian plane by Syrian missiles amidst the confusion.
On Monday Russian Senator and former Air Force commander Viktor Bondarev stated that Russia has established a no-fly-zone over Latakia after last week's Israeli attack. “The establishment of a no-fly zone over the Russian military base in Latakia will prevent a repeat of the IL-20 aircraft tragedy,” Bondarev told the Russian Federation’s Council. He further declared that "it is necessary to announce that any unauthorized objects in the sky over Hmeimim Airport will definitely be eliminated."
The Krasukha 4 electronic suppression equipment, shown in the below photos being unloaded at the Hmeymim Military Airport in Latakia province, is a key part of Russia's "response" to Israel and its allies which was announced early on Monday. Russia's MoD had promised that along with the S-300 anti-missile defense system, advanced electronic countermeasures would be installed in order to “suppress satellite navigation, onboard radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory.”
On Tuesday the Russian outlet Uralinform.Ru published the "leaked" photos.
Israel has long claimed to be acting primarily against Iran inside Syria, often firing from over "neutral" Lebanese airspace, but additional new electronic countermeasures to be erected along with the S-300 system will blanket the Syrian coastline, per RT:
The third measure announced by the Russian defense ministry is a blanket of electronic countermeasures over Syrian coastline, which would “suppress satellite navigation, onboard radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory.”
Shoigu further said the measures are meant to “cool down ‘hotheads’ and prevent misjudged actions posing a risk to our service members.”
He added that if attacked in spite of the countermeasures, the Russian military “would act in accordance to the situation.”
Meanwhile Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel will continue to strike Iranian targets inside Syria despite what will be vastly upgraded Syrian defenses.
Netanyahu made the provocative statement before heading to the United States where he plans to meet with President Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly .
“Israel has been very successful in the last three years in preventing Iran's military buildup in Syria as well as its attempts to deliver lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu and Trump are expected to discuss Russia's S-300 delivery to Damascus, something which US National Security Advisor John Bolton has called a "significant escalation" while appealing to Moscow to "reconsider".
However, it appears Russia isn't bluffing, and is likely already moving forward with delivery, as the photos suggest.