Russia to Upgrade Security Around Its Syrian Bases
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Following Israel's responsibility for the downing of a Russian IL-20 reconnaissance plane over the Mediterranean Sea 35 km from Syria's coastline, Russia's Defense Ministry intends to upgrade its security around its bases in Syria to protect the installations and personnel.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov on Wednesay, Vladimir Putin "issued instructions (before the incident) to step up the protection of our bases in Khmeymim and Tartus," adding:
"…Kalashnikov corporation has come up with the technical solutions in the form of automated control instruments that will be installed there to build up defense of the facilities."
"The Defense Ministry pays due attention to security issues. This effort is in full swing today."
According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov, knowingly put the downed IL-20 in harm's way, calling the incident a hostile provocation requiring a response.
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu minced no words calling Israel fully responsible for what happened, stressing it won't go unanswered.
In a phone call to Israeli war minister Avigdor Lieberman, he said the aircraft was downed, its 15 crew members killed because of Israel's "irresponsible actions" - clearly furious about what happened.
A full investigation into the incident was ordered, Putin saying "we need to get to the bottom of what happened."
Russia's Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko called it a criminal probe into the incident.
During their phone conversation following the incident, he told Netanyahu that Israeli warplanes breached Syrian sovereignty, according to a Kremlin statement, adding:
"…Russian-Israeli agreements on the prevention of dangerous incidents were not observed. As a result a Russian airplane came under fire from Syria's anti-aircraft systems."
Israel's air force chief General Amikam Norkin will be in Moscow on Thursday to provide information on the plane's downing - intending to unjustifiably absolve Israel for its high crime.
In a letter to Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad "express(ed) (his) sincere condolences on behalf of the Syrian people in connection with the crash of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft in the Mediterranean Sea, which led to the death of Russian military heroes who performed the valiant task of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the fight against terrorism in Syria," adding:
"This sad incident is the result of the arrogance and reckless violence of Israel, which constantly uses the dirtiest methods to achieve its sinister goals and to carry out aggression in the region."
"We are determined that such tragic events will sway neither you nor us from continuing the fight against terrorism."
Russia's Kommersant broadsheet said the Kremlin may be more reluctant to consider (unjustifiable) Israeli security concerns about Hezbollah fighters and Iranian military personnel in Syria because of the IL-20's downing.
Will the Kremlin now provide Syria's military with more advanced air defense systems than are now in place - S-300s it bought and paid for earlier, or state-of-the-art S-400s to protect its most strategically important areas, giving Israel and US-led NATO pause about conducting hostile aerial operation against its territory?
Days before the incident, Russia's envoy to Syria Alexander Kinshchak said "(w)e are helping our Syrian partners to restore, modernize and boost the efficiency of the integrated air defense system," adding:
"Much is yet to be done because everything was in utter devastation, but certain results can already be seen."
Following the incident, Russia's Foreign Ministry called the aircraft's downing and death of its crew members "reckless" and "unfriendly," adding:
The Kremlin will take all necessary measures to protect its military personnel in Syria, involved in "support(ing) (its) people in their fight against terrorism" - backed by the US, NATO, Israel, and other regional rogue states, the statement failed to add.
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