30 May 2013, 14:19

Israel vows to stop Syria’s S-300 missile shield from becoming operational

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Netanyahu tells European foreign ministers that if the Russian missile systems get into Syria, Israel's 'entire airspace will become a no-fly zone' and therefore it 'cannot stand idly by.'

Israel's National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror sketched out what Jerusalem's "red line" is vis-à-vis the S-300 missile systems Russia intends to send to Syria before the 27 European Union ambassadors in Israel.

Two diplomats who were in the room during the briefing last Thursday, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was a closed event, said that Amidror stressed Israel will act "to prevent the S-300 missiles from becoming operational" on Syrian soil. This message was also conveyed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon when he said on Tuesdaythat if the missiles reach Syria "Israel will know what to do."

Amidror's briefing, the diplomats said, made it clear that Israel estimates that sooner or later Russia will provide Syria with the missile systems and for reasons unrelated to Israel - namely Russian rivalry with the U.S., Britain and France on the Syrian issue. "We understood from Amidror that the Israeli government thinks the missile transfer cannot be prevented, therefore it will act against them after the transfer but before they become operational," one of the diplomats said.

Syria gets first batch of Russia S-300 missiles – Assad

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has confessed in an interview to AL-Manar TV Lebanon that the government has received the first batch of Russia-made long-range surface-to-air missiles, Israeli media report.

Assad added the next shipment of advanced S-300 missile systems was coming in shortly. Al-Manar is expected to publish the complete interview later today.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov previously told journlaists he wasn’t in a position to either confirm or deny the reports that claim the first S-300 missiles had already reached Syria. He added however Russia was indeed planning to supply Damascus with its missile systems.

Mr. Ryabkov said he realized this news came as a wakeup call for Russia’s global partners, but underscored Moscow was not going to revise its stance.

Moscow hopes US, EU will ‘rein in’ opposition Syria National Coalition – Foreign Minister Lavrov

Moscow hopes that the US and EU will be able to “rein in” opposition’s National Syrian Coalition, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Moscow hopes that the US and EU will be able to “rein in” opposition’s National Syrian Coalition, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

He condemned the opposition forces for urging a regime change in Syria, a call that can abort the planned Geneva peace conference.

Mr. Lavrov said he hoped Americans and Europeans would show some common sense and restrain the most aggressive of opposition elements. He also criticized those who were trying to present the NSC as the sole force capable of speaking out on Syria’s behalf.

Israel "checks" report Syria received Russian S-300

Israel is looking into reports on Thursday that Syria had received the first shipment of the advanced Russian air defence system S-300, an Israeli official said.

"I have no information beyond what has been reported, which we are looking into," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity, after a Lebanese newspaper quoted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as saying a shipment had arrived.

Israel, which has made veiled threats to prevent S-300 missiles from becoming operational in Syria, has lobbied the Russians against the sale and said on Tuesday that shipments had not yet been made. Israel's airspace would be within range of the system if it is deployed in Syria, a northern neighbour.

Russia S-300 missile exports may stave off Syrian invasion - diplomat

Russian deliveries of S-300 defensive surface-to-air missile systems to Damascus could help prevent any possible intervention by external forces in the Syrian conflict, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a press conference in Moscow.

"In our opinion, these deliveries play a stabilizing role. We believe that such steps will largely help stop certain hotheads from turning it into a possible international conflict, from considering a scenario that would make this conflict international with the involvement of external forces that are not averse to such ideas," he said.

"We are speaking about deliveries of defensive weapons to the government of this country with the aim of protecting facilities and contingents of soldiers," Ryabkov said.

Moscow's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko on S-300 exports to Syria: Russia will fulfill signed contracts

Russia will continue honoring its commitments as part of military-technological cooperation with Syria, Moscow's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko told journalists on Tuesday, commenting on the future of the contract to deliver Russian S-300 air defense missile systems to Damascus.

"We will fulfill the signed contracts. Russia has been acting in total compliance with international law," the high-ranking Russian diplomat said.

According to Western news reports, Russia allegedly decided not to fulfill its S-300 contract with Syria seeking to accommodate Israel's request.

"We have a reliable system of exports control," Grushko said.

"We have done nothing that could change the situation in Syria. The weapons we have delivered there are defensive," he said.

Assad promises gov’t presence at Syria conference

Syria is intent to take part in the second round of Geneva peace talks, President Bashar al-Assad said, stressing the government hoped to see concrete results.

Speaking in an interview with Al-Manar TV Lebanon, the Syrian president also criticized the leadership of the Syrian major opposition bloc. The full interview will be available later today.

Assad confirms Hezbollah presence in Syria

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has confirmed that militants of the extremist Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement had infiltrated the country.

Speaking with Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV channel, the president confessed that groups of Hezbollah Islamists were fighting in the border area. He stressed however they had no part in the counter-rebel offensive, which was carried out entirely by the government forces.

Assad vowed the regime would be fighting insurgents till the last rebel. He condemned Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for funding Syrian opposition forces and blamed these governments for helping some 100,000 mercenaries from a variety of Arab countries into the war-torn Syria.

Bashar al-Assad confirmed that the regime was open for peace talks, which are set to be held in Geneva, but added he didn’t pin much hope on them.

Voice of Russia, Interfax, RIA, Haaretz

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