A satellite intelligence firm has confirmed that the Russian S-300 air defense system in the area of the town of Masyaf has been dismantled and is no longer in the area.
Israeli intelligence claims that this system has been in this region for years, but is now gone. The company ImageSat International [ISI] published satellite images confirming the information.
According to Israeli media, the S-300 was first sent to Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base. There it was dismantled and sent to the port of Tartus. It is loaded on a Russian ship, which is expected to arrive at the port of Novorossiysk next Friday [September 2].
According to Israeli experts, the S-300 is being returned to Russia to strengthen the country’s air defenses. The same Israeli sources claim that against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the country’s air defenses have suffered and need strengthening.
The 48N6E3 anti-aircraft missile was fired from the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system [NATO designation SA-10A Grumble] on an F-16 fighter of the Israeli Air Force. The information was officially announced on Israeli TV Channel 13, and earlier the news was already confirmed by TV correspondent Alon Ben-David on his Twitter profile.
Channel 13 says that after an Israeli F-16 carried out airstrikes on targets near the northwestern Syrian city of Masiaf on May 13, a “Russian” S-300 battery fired a missile at an Israeli plane. The Israeli military has not commented on the F-16 attacks or the anti-aircraft missile fired at the plane, which is not surprising, as it has been a long-standing practice.
At the same time, Russia’s Defense Ministry’s Reconciliation Center for Syria said in a press release that an Israeli fighter jet had carried out airstrikes “on a Syrian research center” in the western Syrian city of Masiaf and the port of Baniyas on May 13, but didn’t provide information about the rocket fire, as claimed by Channel 13.
At this stage, there is no information on whether the S-300 missile was Russian or Syrian, but it does not matter, as the Russian armed forces in Syria control the launch of S-300 missiles belonging to both Russian and Syrian armed forces.
In 2018, the Russian Federation decided to send its S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria. Israeli intelligence claims that three batteries have been deployed in Syria since then.
The reason for the deployment of the S-300 in Syria is the downed Russian spy plane. Israel claims the plane was shot down by Syrian forces, while Russia claims Israel shot down the plane.
Russia and Israel did not agree, despite Israel’s attempts to lobby not sending the S-300 to Syria. The reasons: it would make it harder for the Israeli Air Force to fight Hezbollah and other threats. However, Russia did not accept Israel’s motives and gave the Syrian army three S-300 systems for free use. Russia has deployed S-400 air defense systems in Syria as well. Israeli officials claim that Moscow has not yet used the S-400 against Israeli military assets.