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Assad's Foreign Minister: Russia will soon provide us with new advanced weapons

November 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

The Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Muallem, has said that his country expects to receive Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons that will help strengthen its defences, Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar English newspaper reported on Thursday.

The forces of the US-led coalition have been launching airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria for more than a month, especially in the east and north of the country, while Syrian forces have stepped up their air raids, particularly in the west of the country.

Speaking to Al-Akhbar before Tuesday’s mid-term elections in the US, Muallem explained that, “we are aware that US President Barack Obama, for internal reasons, wants to avoid war with Syria, and wants to intervene only against ISIS through air strikes.”

He continued: “We benefit from this, but we do not know how Obama will act, under mounting pressure, which will be more effective if the Republicans manage to win a majority in the US midterm elections. Therefore, we have to be ready.”

He added, “This is what we have explained frankly to the Russians, and asked them to use this time to provide us with advanced weaponry.”

In response to a question asking him if he was referring to S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, Muallem replied: “Yes, and other advanced weapons.”

He said that the Syrian government has not received them yet, “but we will [receive them] and other advanced weapons in a reasonable timeframe. Russian defence companies operate under a slow bureaucracy, but the main issue is going to be resolved quickly – that is, the Kremlin’s political approval. This could happen very soon.”

Russia, which has a sea base in the Syrian port of Tartus, is considered the main supplier of military equipment to Syria, including armoured vehicles, drones and guided bombs.

The Syrian government forces have been carrying out a bloody war against both opposition groups and militants who seek to overthrow the rule of President Bashar Al-Assad.

He denied that his country requested a loan of one billion dollars from Russia, stressing: “We have sufficient credit facilities from the Iranian ally.”

He pointed out that what Syria really needs from Russia, which is more important than the alleged loan and “was met with understanding and responsiveness by the Russians”, is “a series of economic and trade agreements that will boost the Syrian economy, and enhance [our] resilience and [help in] reconstruction”.