Chemical team gets more samples in Syria

Lieberman acknowledged that the S-300 systems were already being used in Syria, but only in defense of Russian assets.

Top Photo | Russian military police officers check a weapons factory left Jaysh al-Islam, in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria, April 16, 2018.

Opposition activists and first responders who witnessed the attack in Douma, which was under rebel control at the time, say it was carried out by government forces and killed more than 40 people, many of them suffocating in an underground shelter where they were hiding from government airstrikes. Before and after the US -led hit against Syrian facilities, Russian officials issued repeated but unclear warnings that Moscow will respond in support of Assad's forces.

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The Russian military indicated on Wednesday it will supply the Syrian government with a sophisticated air defense system following Moscow's condemnation of the missile attack launched by the United States, Britain and France earlier this month. However, they managed to track down the people who had taken part in the shooting of the footage, which the White Helmets passed off later as confirmation of the alleged use of a chemical warfare agent.

Immediately following the reports that Syria would be getting S-300s, Israel threatened to destroy the S- systems if Israeli warplanes are targeted.

The OPCW does not assign blame for chemical attacks and there is now no mechanism that can do so after Russian Federation vetoed a resolution to extend the mandate of a United Nations-OPCW mission in November.

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The most significant upgrade that Russian Federation could provide to enhance Syria's ability to shoot down jets and cruise missiles would be its S-300 and S-400 systems.

"What's important to us is that the defensive weapons the Russians are giving Syria won't be used against us", Lieberman told Israeli news website Ynet.

Russian Federation has arrayed S-300 and S-400 systems around its main bases in Syria near northeastern Latakia and has claimed that the U.S., France and Britain deliberately avoided the area for fear of interceptions during the April 13 missile strikes. Previous reports had said Moscow could supply Damascus with the S-300 system, a development that has troubled Israeli officials as the surface-to-air missile can lock onto targets deep inside Israeli airspace. "We are looking forward to the day when we can use this material, because the reconstruction of Syria must include acknowledging, investigating and prosecuting crimes". Israel also has warned that it will not accept a permanent military presence in Syria by Iran, also a staunch Assad supporter.

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The Syrian civil war has been a bloody one. "When the Syrian systems acted against us, we destroyed them", the defense minister stressed.

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