Russia will supply Syria with an S-300 ground-to-air missile system, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says, suggesting it would improve the country's defenses and help avert a repeat of the downing of a Russian warplane by Syrian forces a week ago.
Speaking on September 24, Shoigu said that Moscow will deliver the S-300 within two weeks and will also provide Syrian government forces with updated automated systems for its air-defense network.
This will improve Syrian air-defense operations and "most important, the identification of all Russian aircraft by Syrian air-defense systems will be guaranteed," Shoigu said.
Syrian government forces shot a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane down off the northwestern province of Latakia on September 17, killing all 15 servicemen aboard.
Shoigu's ministry angrily blamed Israel, accusing the country's military of using the Russian plane as a cover to dodge Syrian air-defense systems.
President Vladimir Putin took a softer approach, saying last week that the shoot-down appeared to be the result of a "chain of tragic accidental circumstances."
But Putin announced that Russia would take visible measures to protect Russian military personnel in Syria, presumably referring at least in part to the announcement made by Shoigu.
Russia has given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crucial support throughout the war in Syria, which began with a government crackdown on protesters in March 2011.
Moscow helped protect Assad from possible defeat and turn the tide of the war in his favor by launching a campaign of air strikes in 2015 and stepping up its military presence on the ground.