As reports that the Obama administration are, once again, considering launching airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Russian Defense Ministry on Thursday issued a clear warning that it will shoot down American aircraft if such a campaign was launched.
The statement comes just days after reports that Moscow had deployed additional S-300 surface-to-air missile batteries to its air base in the Assad-controlled Syrian region of Latakia. Russia is in Syria providing air support to Assad’s forces, as they battle to retake positions to the east.
“Let me remind the [so-called] American ‘strategists’: the Russian military bases in [Latakia] and Tartus are covered by S-400 and S-300 air defense systems, the range of which may come as a surprise to unidentified flying objects.”
The advertised range of the S-400 and S-300 systems are 300 kilometers and 200 kilometers, respectively.
Dialogue between the United States and Russia in Syria has in the past week completely broken down, with hopes for a renewed cease-fire falling to the wayside. Russia, meanwhile, is supporting a renewed Assad-led assault on the opposition holdout of Aleppo.