Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Russia sent advanced rockets to Syria due to ‘threats from Turkey’

Russia sent advanced rockets to Syria due to ‘threats from Turkey’

MOSCOW — Russia has delivered an advanced surface-to-surface rocket to Syria.

Russian sources said the Kremlin has approved the transfer of the Iskander-E rocket to the regime of President Bashar Assad. They said nearly 100 Iskander rockets arrived in Syria in November as part of Moscow’s determination to bolster Damascus.

“These missiles were sent because of threats from Turkey,” a source said.

Iskander was said to have a range of 280 kilometers. Russia, training the Syrian Army to use Iskander, has touted the rocket as capable of penetrating Israeli- or U.S.-origin missile and rocket defense systems, something sought by Ankara.

The sources said Russia had long promised the Iskander to Assad but repeatedly delayed delivery amid Israeli or U.S. pressure. But they said the Kremlin decided to ship the rockets to Syria amid threats by Turkey as well as expanded operations by the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet.

“The Kremlin is sending a message that it will not tolerate military intervention in Syria or another regional war,” the source said.

Russia also concluded its delivery of two Bastion coastal defense systems to Syria. The sources said about 75 P-800 Yakhont cruise missiles, with a range of up to 300 kilometers, were sent to Syria as part of Bastion batteries.

“There will be strict supervision over the latest weapons sent by Russia to make sure they are not used to begin a regional conflict,” the source said.

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