Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has revealed that Russia's promised S-300 missile batteries have already arrived in his country. Lebanese media reports claim that Assad added that he will not stop any Arab faction which wants to liberate the Golan Heights from Israeli occupation. No serious fighting to liberate the territory has taken place since the strategic Golan was occupied by Israel in 1967.
Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Assad's comments made on Hezbollah's TV channel, Al-Manar. The president was adamant that he would retaliate to any Israeli attack on Syria. The full interview is being broadcast on Thursday night on Al-Manar.
Israel acknowledged that it failed to prevent the missiles from reaching Syria but insisted that it will not allow Syria to use them. Israeli National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror told a gathering of European Union ambassadors that his country "will act" to prevent the S-300s from becoming operational. This would include diplomatic efforts along with the United States to persuade Russia to withhold crucial parts and training.
S-300 batteries are a sophisticated missile defence system capable of intercepting fighter jets and cruise missiles. Experts say that it is considered to be one of the most advanced systems in the world. They pointed out that the system will take about four months to become operational and it requires intensive training for the operators, as well as calibration that can only be carried out on-site in Syria.