Friday, May 31, 2013

Assad vague on delivery of Russian missiles

From Times of Israel, 30 May 2013,

Earlier reports erroneously cited Syrian president specifying his country had already received a first shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft systems.

Syrian President Bashar Assad during an interview broadcast on Al-Manar Television on Thursday, May 30, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Al-Manar Television)
...Russia’s S-300 missiles would significantly boost Syria’s air defenses and be a game-changer, but Assad was unclear about whether Syria has received a first shipment.
Earlier Thursday, Al-Manar had sent text messages to reporters with what it said was an excerpt from the interview.
The station quoted Assad as saying Syria had received a first shipment of such missiles. The Associated Press called Al-Manar after receiving the text message, and an official at the station said the message had been sent based on Assad’s comments.
In the interview, Assad was asked about the S-300s, but his answer was general.
He said Russia’s weapons shipments are not linked to the Syria conflict. “We have been negotiating with them about different types of weapons for years, and Russia is committed to Syria to implement these contracts,” he said.
“All we have agreed on with Russia will be implemented and some of it has been implemented recently, and we and the Russians continue to implement these contracts,” he said.
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