Remains of the Syrian missile
Ron Ben-Yishai

Assad feels confident with Russian backing

Analysis: With victories on the battlefield and Russian military support, Bashar Assad feels confident enough to raise the stakes and fire surface-to-air missiles at IAF aircraft attacking strategic weapons depots.

Embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad feels secure enough with his Russian backup, that he fired SA-5 missiles—also known as S-200 missiles—at IAF fighter aircraft that attacked a strategic weapons target destined for Hezbollah.



In northern Syria, there is a factory near the town of As-Safira, southeast of Aleppo, which produces the Scud-D missile, which has a range of 700km.


Remains of the S-200 missile in Jordan after it was intercepted by the Arrow
Remains of the S-200 missile in Jordan after it was intercepted by the Arrow


This is possibly the target IAF aircraft destroyed in their raid, which would harm Hezbollah's ability to acquire long-range missiles, whether they be Scuds or the Iranian-made Fateh-110.


The Syrian retaliatory missile launch occurred when IAF aircraft had already passed into Israeli airspace. Despite the Syrians possessing the most updated S-200 SAM system, which has the ability to intercept high-altitude targets, it is not the S-300 or the S-400.


S-200 missile (Photo: AP) (Photo: EPA)
S-200 missile (Photo: AP)


The system was developed in the 1960s by the Soviet Union and the missiles themselves are large enough that an Israeli Arrow anti-ballistic missile was launched to intercept it.


The firing of the SA-5 (S-200) is a change in policy of the Syrian regime. Bashar Assad feels confident with his Russian military backing, victory in Aleppo and the new strategic weapons he has received. His response is most likely also due to the fact that the property and materials are important to him.


IAF F-15 (Photo: EPA) (Photo: EPA)
IAF F-15 (Photo: EPA)


The launching of these missiles, especially when the jets were already far from Syria territory, is ominous and points to a rise in danger and tension. In fact, a launch of these missiles after an attack in Syrian territory can lead to a situation in which tension turns into war.


(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)


פרסום ראשון: 03.17.17, 22:49
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