The Latest: Russia delivers S-300 air defenses to Syria
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the Syria conflict (all times local):
Russia’s defense minister says the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Syria has been completed.
Sergei Shoigu said in televised remarks Tuesday that Russia has delivered four S-300 launchers along with radars and support vehicles. He says it will take three months to train Syrian personnel to operate the system.
Russia announced last month that it would provide the S-300s after the downing of a Russian plane by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli air strike, a friendly fire incident that stoked regional tensions.
Shoigu says the Russian military has also significantly strengthened its electronic warfare systems in Syria. He says the integration of Russian and Syrian air defense assets will be completed by Oct. 20.
Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and its intervention in the civil war, beginning in 2015, turned the tide in his favor.
Syrian foreign minister says Iranian ballistic missiles that targeted militants in eastern Syria the previous day are part of “legitimate” cooperation between the two countries to combat terrorism.
Walid al-Moallem told the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV the strikes were coordinated with Syria’s government.
His comments were broadcast Tuesday, a day after the missiles targeted the Islamic State group in Deir el-Zour province.
Iranian officials said the strikes were in retaliation for an attack on a military parade in Iran last month.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, said the strikes killed eight people.
The Syrian government and its allies, as well as the U.S-led coalition are separately battling IS, which still controls a sliver of land along Syria’s border with Iraq.