Report: Syrian Military Deployed Additional Air Defenses Near Israeli Border

A picture shows a Russian Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft defence system at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, in the northwest of Syria, on December 16, 2015. Russia began its air war in Syria on September 30, conducting air strikes against a range of anti-regime armed groups including US-backed rebels …
PAUL GYPTEAU/AFP/Getty

The Times of Israel reports: The Syrian military recently deployed additional air defenses near the border with Israel amid heightened tensions over Iran’s presence in Syria, a commander in the pro-regime coalition told the Reuters news agency Tuesday.

Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s forces also planned to set up more anti-aircraft weapons in the area in coming days, said the officer, who was identified as a non-Syrian who spoke on condition of anonymity. The deployment was announced days after the Israel Defense Forces launched a surprise exercise on the Israeli Golan Heights.

The military said the exercise was not tied to current events but was “planned in advance as part of the 2018 training schedule.” According to the Reuters report, the air defense reinforcement included the deployment of a Russian-made Pantsir S-1 system, also known as a SA-22, which the commander said was meant to “renew the air defense system against Israel in the first degree.”

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