Moscow announced last week that it was considering reversing its longtime policy against supplying the S-300 system to the regime. The statement came following a series of airstrikes against Syrian targets by the United States, United Kingdom and France earlier this month in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
“A few years ago at the request of our partners, we decided not to supply S-300s to Syria,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the BBC last week. “Now that this outrageous act of aggression was undertaken by the US, France and UK, we might think how to make sure that the Syrian state is protected.”
Lavrov’s comments to the BBC indicated that the impetus for Russia to reverse its decision and give Assad the S-300 was not the airstrike allegedly conducted by Israel on April 9, but the American-French-British attack on April 13.
The Russian-made system offers long-range protection against both fighter jets and missiles. The system has been supplied by Moscow to Tehran, and deployed by the Russian army in Syria, alongside its more advanced iteration: the S-400.