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Russia urges Israel to exercise ‘good judgment’ on S-300 delivery to Syria

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Russia says it hopes the Israeli regime would exercise ‘good judgment’ on Moscow’s delivery of S-300 missile defense system to the Syrian government as it will be followed by “additional steps”.

The remarks were made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin in an interview with Sputnik on Thursday.

Vershinin declared that the delivery of the S-300 systems will be followed by additional steps, but did not provide any further details on the steps.

Russia announced the complete delivery of the missile defense system to the Syrian army by releasing a video on Tuesday.

The decision to deliver the system came after the accidental downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft with 15 servicemen on board by Syria’s S-200 air defense systems which were at the time responding to a wave of Israeli strikes on state institutions in Latakia.

Moscow held Israel responsible for the September 17 incident, saying the regime’s pilots had intentionally used the Russian plane as cover to conduct air raids, effectively putting it in the cross hairs of the Syrian air defenses.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last Sunday that Russia went ahead with the shipment because “the situation has changed, and it’s not our fault.”

He also said that Russia would start to electronically jam aircraft flying in to attack targets in Syria. “We are convinced that these measures will calm down some hotheads and keep them from careless actions which pose a threat to our troops,” Shoigu said.

The delivery provoked heavy criticism by the Israeli regime, which considers it a threat to its illegal airstrikes on Syria, and the US, which believes the shipment “was a needless escalation.”

US Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees US forces in the Middle East, claimed the deployment appeared to be an effort by Moscow to help shield “nefarious activities” by Iranian and Syrian forces in the country.

“So, again, I think this is a needless, needless escalation,” Votel told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.

Votel also took a swipe at Iran’s presence in Syria, claiming that countries in the region “had good reason to be concerned about Iran’s activities in Syria.”

“We believe they are moving lethal capabilities into Syria that threaten neighbors in the region,” he said.

Votel’s comments come as the US is known as a source of arms delivered to terrorists in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that the US has delivered 19,000 trucks of weapons, ammunition, and military equipment to Syria-based terrorists.

Addressing an international conference in Istanbul, Erdogan urged the US to stop supporting terrorist groups in Syria by sending them weapons, warning that these groups will one day grip the US as well.

Syria has been gripped by militancy caused by multiple factions and groups since March 2011. The ongoing war, fueled by the support coming from the US and its regional allies, has so far claimed over 400,000 lives and displaced millions of people.

The UN is currently providing aid to some 5.5 million people across the country each month. However, millions of others have fled to other countries, from Jordan and Turkey to Europe and the US, causing a so-called ‘refugee crisis’.

While the US itself has been a main source of such a tragedy in Syria, it has refused to admit the refugees coming from the Arab country.

The White House said on Thursday few of the refugees the United States plans to admit next year will come from the Middle East.

Of a total 30,000 refugees the US plans to allow in during the 2019 fiscal year – itself a historical low – only 9,000 will come from the “Near East/South Asia” region, a White House news release said.

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