Bashar Assad
Photo: AP

Russia to sell at least 10 MiG fighters to Syria

Russian arms manufacturer director Sergei Korotkov says company signing contract to deliver MiG fighter jets to Syria. Meanwhile, Russian news organs refute Assad's assertions he has already received shipment

Russian arms manufacturer says it is signing a contract to deliver at least 10 fighter jets to Syria.


Sergei Korotkov, general director of the MiG company that makes the jets, told Russian news agencies Friday that a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss terms and deadlines of a new contract supplying MiG-29 M/M2 fighters to Syria.


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Korotkov did not say how many MiGs Syria were buying, but says it would be "more than 10."


Earlier on Friday, it was reported that Russia may not deliver a hugely controversial consignment of S-300 air defense missile systems to the Syrian regime this year, according to two Russian newspapers.


The Vedomosti daily cited a Russian defense industry source as saying it was unclear if the weapons would be delivered to Syria this year while the Kommersant daily quoted its source as saying that delivery was only planned in the second quarter of 2014. 


President Bashar Assad appeared to imply in an interview with Al-Manar television broadcast Thursday that Russia had already delivered some of the promised ground-to-air S-300 missile systems.


But both sources quoted by Kommersant and Vedomosti said that no delivery of the missiles had taken place yet. The contract was agreed in 2010 and according to Vedomosti is worth $1 billion.


Kommersant added that after delivery in 2014, a minimum of another six months would be needed for the training of personnel and tests before the systems were fully operational.


The source quoted by Vedomosti meanwhile said that while the Russian government is currently insisting in public that the contract will be fulfilled, this does not mean that the actual deliveries will ever take place.


No further details were given.


The widely-admired missile systems are seen by analysts as having huge military importance for Assad in the conflict against rebels as the weapons could be used to ward off Western or Israeli air strikes against regime targets.


AP and AFP contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 05.31.13, 09:36
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