The Syrian military has criticised the Russian S-300 missile defence system, saying that it is largely ineffective against Israeli air strikes, Avia.pro reported yesterday. A Syrian military source told the Russian outlet that the radar used on the S-300 and the Pantsir-S systems has proven to be incapable of detecting and hitting Israeli cruise missiles on numerous occasions.
Other Russian air defence systems incorporated into Syria's military infrastructure were said to be even more "backward", such as the S-125, Osa and Igra air defence missiles.
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This is not the first speculation about the effectiveness of these air defence systems, as they date back to the Soviet era and were supplied to the then USSR's Syrian Baathist ally from the 1960s to the 1980s. They don't bear comparison with more recent systems that Russia has manufactured, such as the S-400.
Radars which do work, however, are reportedly those manufactured and delivered by China in recent years, such as the long-range JY-27 and JYL-1 systems as well as the LLQ120 radar which detects low-altitude targets. These, the Syrian military has said, work successfully in their detection of Israeli missiles and help the success of some Russian air defence missiles. A potential solution, according to Avia.pro, could be to import more Chinese radars to work in conjunction with the Russian missiles.
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Throughout Syria's ongoing civil war, Israel has regularly carried out air strikes in order to destroy military sites, bases and facilities belonging to Iran and its proxies, who have been supporting the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. The Israelis want to prevent the creation of a land corridor from Iraq through Syria to Lebanon, by which Iran would transport arms, equipment and fighters.
The latest of these strikes took place last night, when Israeli helicopters fired on sites in southern Syria, causing limited damage. Another incident took place today when missiles reportedly hit a military cache in the western city of Homs, causing explosions. Syria has denied that this was an Israeli strike, however, saying that it was caused by "human error".