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Is Russia’s S-300 delivery to Syria a game-changer?

Russia's deployment of S-300 missile defense systems to Syria has both political and military significance, but might not necessarily change the overall balance of forces with regard to Israel.
Russian servicemen watch the launch of the S-300 air defence system missile during the International Army Games 2016 at the Ashuluk military polygon outside Astrakhan, Russia, August 7, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov - S1AETUBLCHAA
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MOSCOW — Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 2 that the Russian army had completed supplying the S-300 missile defense system to Syria. The move is intended to boost security for Russian forces in the country following the downing of an Ilyushin-20 reconnaissance plane over the Mediterranean by Syria's air defense system stemming from what Moscow calls an Israeli provocation.

Shoigu said in a televised statement, “[The installation] includes 49 units of equipment. We have also significantly improved our radio electronic jamming, added some new additional equipment. Today we are in control of the close-in zone of 50 kilometers [31 miles], we also control the far field, the main direction from which we approached the Syrian territory by 200 kilometers. As for the unified air defense control system, we’ve also started supplying [necessary] equipment and are planning to finish all the activities associated with training of the crew and knitting a unified system by Oct. 20.”

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