Amid the reports claiming that Russia is planning to transfer an S-300 missile system to Syria, a top official in Moscow claimed that the if the system arrives in the Arab country, only Russians will be allowed to operate it. In addition, the official said that Israel’s activities in Syria are delaying the end of the civil war.

Destruction in Syria (archive)

Destruction in Syria (archive) Photo Credit: EPA-EFE

A senior Russian official has claimed that Israel’s actions in Syria are delaying the end of the bloody civil war in the Arab nation, Hadashot news reported Monday. In addition, the official said that Russia plans to make sure that the Iranian militias and forces leave Syria once the war is over to alleviate the concerns in Jerusalem about an Iranian military presence along Israel’s northern border.

Regarding the advanced S-300 missile system, the source said that while Moscow is aware of the Israeli concerns over its deployment in Syria, the Kremlin has other issues to consider. According to him, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad requested the system before the civil war broke out in 2011 and the sale was postponed because of Israel’s concerns.

In recent days, Israel’s concerns about the possible deployment of the system have increased in light of several news reports. Yesterday, two Russian military officials told the Kommersant newspaper that the system would soon arrive in Syria, adding that the components will be transferred to the Arab nation via transport aircraft and naval ships.

While the top Russian official quoted by Hadashot news did not confirm the Kommersant report, he stressed that if the system is indeed transferred to Syria, only Russian officers will be allowed to operate it.

A few days ago, a Bloomberg report cited several Israeli officials and defense analysts who said that Israel would likely respond to the deployment of the system by attacking it. In an apparent response, the two Russian military officials who spoke with Kommersant said that if Israel attacks the system in Syria, it will suffer “catastrophic consequences.”