Israel 'will know what to do' over Russia missiles
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (C). REUTERS PhotoIsrael "will know what to do" if Russia delivers anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, its defence minister said Tuesday, in an apparent allusion to another air strike on the war-torn neighbouring country.
"The deliveries have not taken place, and I hope they do not. But if, by misfortune, they arrive in Syria, we will know what to do," Moshe Yaalon said.
His comments came after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said providing the missiles to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would be a "stabilising factor" aimed at deterring any foreign intervention in Syria.
Speaking in Moscow, Ryabkov said "we consider these supplies a stabilising factor and believe such steps will deter some hotheads from considering scenarios that would turn the conflict international with the involvement of outside forces." Earlier this month, Israel launched air raids inside Syria targeting what sources said were arms destined for its arch foe, Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, whose fighters have entered the conflict alongside the Syrian army.
The strikes ramped up regional tension, with Syria threatening to hit back.
Russia to send Syria air defence system to deter 'hotheads'
Russia will deliver an advanced air defence system to the Syrian government despite Western opposition because it will help deter "hotheads" who back foreign intervention, a senior Russian official said on Tuesday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also accused the European Union of "throwing fuel on the fire" by letting its arms embargo on Syrian expire, saying it would complicate efforts to arrange an international peace conference.
His remarks toughened Russia's defiance of the United States, France and Israel over the planned sale of precision S-300 missile systems to President Bashar al-Assad's government, which is battling a Western and Gulf Arab-backed insurgency.
"We think this delivery is a stabilising factor and that such steps in many ways restrain some hotheads ... from exploring scenarios in which this conflict could be given an international character with participation of outside forces, to whom this idea is not foreign," he told a news conference.