U.S. Is Warned Russia Plans Syria Arms Sale
Israel has warned the U.S. that a Russian deal is imminent to sell advanced ground-to-air missile systems to Syria, weapons that would significantly boost the regime’s ability to stave off intervention in its civil war.
U.S. officials said on Wednesday that they are analyzing the information Israel provided about the suspected sale of S-300 missile batteries to Syria, but wouldn’t comment on whether they believed such a transfer was near.
Russian officials didn’t immediately return requests to comment. The Russian Embassy in Washington has said its policy is not to comment on arms sales or transfers between Russia and other countries.
The government of President Bashar al-Assad has been seeking to purchase S-300 missile batteries—which can intercept both manned aircraft and guided missiles—from Moscow going back to the George W. Bush
administration, U.S. officials said. Western nations have lobbied President Vladimir Putin
‘s government not to go ahead with the sale. If Syria were to acquire and deploy the systems, it would make any international intervention in Syria far more complicated, according to U.S. and Middle East-based officials.