Syrian S-300 missile suspected of targeting Israeli fighters

An S-300 battery appears to have fired projectiles at an Israeli warplane, marking the first time the system had intercepted the enemy in Syria.

channel channel 13 Israel’s military said yesterday the shooting occurred as the country’s F-16 fighter squadron attacked targets near the northwestern Syrian town of Masyaf last weekend. This is believed to be the first time the S-300 system has been fired in Syria.

Only one projectile was fired from the S-300 system. It is not clear if the system is operated independently by Syrian soldiers or overseen by Russian military personnel.

The rocket launcher of the Russian S-300 complex during an exercise in late 2017. Photo: TASS.

The rocket launcher of the Russian S-300 complex during an exercise in late 2017. Photo: TASS.

Israeli media confirmed that the missile did not threaten the F-16 fighters, but stressed that this was an unprecedented event.

The Russian, Syrian and Israeli defense ministries have not commented on the report.

The incident came as Tel Aviv changed its policy towards Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine. Israel has shipped a number of arms to Ukraine in recent weeks, and Israeli officials also attended a US-led summit on military aid to Ukraine hosted by the United States in Germany last month.

The Reconciliation Center set up by the Russian military in Syria earlier said that on the evening of May 13, Israeli F-16 squadrons fired 22 rockets at the scientific research center in the city of Masyaf and the port of Baniyas.

Location of Masyaf region in Syria.  Graphics: BBC.

Location of Masyaf region in Syria. Graphic: BBC.

Russia delivered 4 S-300PM complexes with more than 300 rounds to the Syrian Army in October 2018. This is seen as a response to the Israeli fighter’s alleged deliberate use of shadow tactics that led to Syrian air defenses accidentally shooting down the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane a month ago, killing 15 soldiers.

The Syrian S-300 systems have not been fired over the years, while other operational air defense systems have participated in the war and repeatedly intercepted Israeli attacks. Moscow and Tel Aviv also maintain a de-escalation mechanism, under which Israel will notify Russia of its air mission in advance, and Russian air defense complexes will not intercept Israeli jets and missiles.

vu appendix (Corresponding channel 13)