Talk about Iran providing Syria with the Khordad-15 air defence system, in addition to the Russian S-400 system, to strengthen Syrian air defences continues to resonate, especially since Tehran has been denying this in the past months.
Iran confirmed, however, on February 24 that it had provided the Syrian government with this system.
This may result in escalation between Israel, on one hand, and the Iranian arms deployed in Syrian territories, on the other.
Iran’s announcement about providing Syria with the air defence system came just two days after an alleged Israeli strike against a number of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corpse (IRGC) commanders in Damascus.
Informed Syrian sources told Reuters on February 22 that a missile attack hit a facility where Iranian officials and Syrian and Iranian technical experts were meeting to work on programmes to develop the capabilities of drones or ballistic missiles supplied by Tehran to its allies.
The strike, the sources said, left a Syrian engineer dead and an IRGC engineer injured.
It should be noted that the Iranian government justified providing Syria with this system by saying that Damascus needs to rebuild its air defence network.
It referred to Syria’s desire to obtain precision bombs for its fighter jets.
Iranian state television reported, meanwhile, that the Iranian regime would sell surface – to-air missiles to Damascus to help it strengthen its air defences to counter Israeli strikes against Syrian airspace.
The announcement about Iran providing Syria with this air defence system was first made on January 17, when the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that it had received information from documented sources confirming that Tehran was working on installing air defence batteries in Syrian territories to counter Israeli raids against facilities belonging to Iran and its allies in Syria.
It is worth noting that the Iranian Ministry of Defence unveiled the 15 Khordad system for the first time in early June 2019.
It indicated that the Iranian Aerospace Industries Organization was the one that classified it.
It added that the system is equipped with homemade Hunter – 2 and 3 (surface-to-air) missiles capable of detecting drones and warplanes within a range of 150 kilometres, tracking them over a range of 120 kilometres, in addition to tracking other targets at different ranges.
Syrian researcher Mustafa al-Naimi who is specialized in Iranian affairs said Tehran has been trying to gradually increase its intervention in Syrian territory since the first moments of direct intervention in Syria by supporting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
“Therefore, its supply of weapons to the Syrian regime comes in the context of securing advanced Iranian security and military fenders in Iran’s rear base as a main pillar launched through hostile operations against the Syrian people and those they describe as enemies, specifically the Israeli side,” he told The Reference.
Al-Naimi pointed out that Iran believes that the Syrian regime has not activated its S-300 air defence system in Syria, making Iranian arms in Syria vulnerable to attacks.
This, he said, has opened the door for tension between Iran and the Assad regime, which has caused Iran to liquidate many Syrian regime officers as a result of their lack of confidence in the non-activation of the Syrian air defence system during Israel’s targeting of Iranian military points deployed in Syria.
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