Thursday, May 30, 2013

syria has received its russian missiles...,


reuters | Syria has received the first shipment of a sophisticated air defense system from Russia, President Bashar al-Assad was quoted as saying, sending a signal of military strength days before an EU arms embargo on the country lapses.

Russia had promised delivery of the S-300 missile system to the Syrian government despite Western objections, saying the move would help stabilize the regional balance at a time of insurgency in Syria waged by Western-backed rebels.

Moscow is a staunch ally of Assad and it has appeared to grow more defiant since the European Union let its arms embargo on Syria expire as of June 1, opening up the possibility of the West arming the Syrian rebels.

"Syria has received the first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets," Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar newspaper quoted Assad as saying in an interview due to be broadcast later on Thursday.

More of the missiles would arrive soon, he was quoted as saying.

A source close to Russia's Defense Ministry said there had been a "bank transfer" in connection with the S-300 transaction but that Russian banks were becoming increasingly nervous about dealing with Assad.

"There were some problems with payments because big Russian banks were scared of dealing with Assad, but there was a bank transfer," the source said. "There are also not big banks and banks that are not based in Moscow. Beyond the down payment there was almost certainly a second payment, maybe a third."