Russia bring air defense missiles to Syria battle
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered state-of-the art air defense missile systems to be deployed at a Russian air base in Syria following the downing of one of its warplanes by Turkey, a move that raised the threat of a military confrontation between the NATO member and Moscow.Russia apparently does not have the ability to spoof the heat seeking missiles used by the US and some of its allies like Israel. Cutting off contact with Turkey is also not a smart move if they are trying to avoid future confrontations. What does seem clear from the shoot down event is that the Russian planes were no where near an ISIL target.
The S-400 missile systems will be sent to the Hemeimeem air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia, located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the border with Turkey. The systems are capable of targeting Turkish jets with deadly precision. If Russia shot down a Turkish plane, NATO would be required to intervene.
Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber on Tuesday, saying it crossed into its airspace from Syria despite repeated warnings. One of its two pilots was killed by militants after bailing out, while his crewmate was rescued by Syrian army commandos and delivered in good condition to the Russian base early Wednesday.
Putin said the Russian plane remained in Syria’s skies when it was shot down. He described Turkey’s action as a “crime” and a “stab in the back,” warning of serious consequences.
He said that the Russian Foreign Ministry’s warning to Russians not to visit Turkey was needed “because we can’t exclude some other incidents following what happened yesterday and our citizens in Turkey could be in significant danger.”
On Wednesday, the Russian leader ordered the military to deploy the S-400s to Hemeimeem and took other measures that “should be sufficient to ensure flight safety.”
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that the Russian missile cruiser Moskva already has moved closer to shore to protect the Russian aircraft flying missions near Syria’s border with Turkey with its long-range Fort air defense system.
“It will be ready to destroy any aerial target posing a potential danger to our aircraft,” he said at a meeting with military officials.
Shoigu also said that from now on all Russian bombers will be escorted by fighters on their combat missions in Syria. He said that his ministry has severed all contacts with the Turkish military.