Military source confirms delivery of missiles, according to an AFP report; second official says missiles will protect Syria from ‘possible attack from the sea.’
Russia has delivered supersonic cruise missiles to Syria, AFP reported on Thursday.
A military source told the Interfax news agency, “The Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles have been delivered to Syria,” although it was not made clear exactly when the shipment was made.
A second Russian official speaking to Interfax said the missiles “will be able to protect Syria’s entire coast against a possible attack from the sea.”
Russia signed a contract reportedly worth at least $300 million in 2007 to supply Syria with cruise missiles, and Russia intended to deliver a total of 72 of the missiles to Syria, AFP reported.
It was not clear how many of the missiles have so far been delivered by Russia to Syria.
The delivery was made amid the continuing violent crackdown of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime against the opposition, which according to a UN statement made on Thursday, has claimed 4,000 lives since March this year.
While international pressure against the Assad regime has increased over the past month, Moscow has stood by its ally, criticizing further sanctions slapped on Syria by Western and Arab League states.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected calls at the United Nations for an arms embargo against Syria on Tuesday, saying that a similar move against Libya had proved one-sided, helping rebels to topple Gadhafi in August.
“We know how that worked in Libya when the arms embargo only applied to the Libyan army. The opposition received weapons, and countries like France and Qatar publicly spoke about it without shame,” he told a news conference.
Russia has close political and strategic relations with Assad’s government and has been one if its main arms suppliers. Syria accounted for 7 percent of Russia’s total of $10 billion in arms deliveries abroad in 2010, according to the Russian defense think-tank CAST.
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