A senior Syrian official said Israel should think carefully before attacking Syria again once it obtains the sophisticated S-300 defense system from Russia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said late Tuesday that the S-300 should have been given to Syria long ago.
Israel, “which is accustomed to launching many aggressions under different pretexts, will have to make accurate calculations if it thinks to attack Syria again,” he said, according to China’s Xinhua news agency.
Mekdad’s comments, which were widely covered by Russian state media, came as Israel and the US raised fears over Moscow’s plans to supply the advanced air defense system to Syria following last week’s downing of a Russian plane by Syria forces responding to an Israeli airstrike.
The Russian Il-20 military reconnaissance aircraft was downed by Syrian air defenses that mistook it for an Israeli aircraft, killing all 15 people on board.
Mekdad said the S-300, which has a range that could reach deep into Israel airspace, would only be used if Syria is attacked, according to the Xinhua report.
Israel has carried our hundreds of attacks against Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria over the last several years, with fighter jets going nearly unchallenged by the country’s air defenses.
Jerusalem has vowed to prevent Lebanon-based Hezbollah or Iranian proxy militias in Syria from obtaining advance weapons that could threaten the Jewish state and has worked to keep Iran from gaining a foothold in Syria that can be used to attack Israel.
Russia, which is a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has maintained a deconfliction hotline with Israel, allowing the Jewish state to carry out the attacks as long as it was informed beforehand.
The future of that program has been under a cloud since the September 17 incident, which occurred as an Israeli fighter jet conducted an airstrike on a weapons facility near the coastal city of Latakia, which the IDF said was going to provide weapons to the Hezbollah terror group and other Iranian proxies.