Russia delivers air defense systems to Syria

One battery of the air defense system S-300 will provide protection for the Russian Navy’s logistic facility in Tartus and Russian ships off Syria’s shores, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the media on Tuesday, according to TASS. He remarked it remained unclear why the decision to dispatch S-300 to Syria caused such commotion in the West.

Russia has conducted an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad since Sept. 30 2015, saving his army from imminent defeat and helping it win key ground. The S-300 deployment was announced a day after the U.S. announced it was suspending direct diplomatic contacts with Russia on ending the war in Syria. Washington’s decision followed the collapse of the Russia-U.S.-brokered cease-fire in Syria and the Syrian army’s onslaught on Aleppo backed by Russian warplanes, according to Washington Post.

While Washington put diplomatic contacts on hold, it has maintained a military-to-military dialogue intended to prevent incidents in the air between Russian and the U.S-led coalition aircraft over Syria. Amid the rising U.S.-Russian tensions, the new Russian missile deployment seems intended to send a warning signal to the U.S.