Jeff Davis, current Pentagon spokesman (not former president of the CSA) admitted that advanced Russian air defense systems have complicated the situation for the US-led coalition over the skies in Syria, BloombergView reported on Thursday.
Russia deployed its S-400 air defense missile system to the Syrian city of Latakia in the wake of Turkey’s shooting down of its warplane over the Arab country last month.
The S-400 has a range of about 400 kilometers and can destroy tactical and strategic aircraft as well as ballistic and cruise missiles.
The move has ignited a debate in Washington on how to respond, said another administration official, the report added.
The US government could decide to resume flights in support of what it calls “moderate” militants, but that could risk a deadly incident with the Russian military, the official added.
The administration official noted that Russians are aiming to keep American-manned flights out of the skies over certain parts of Syria and Washington seems to have agreed “to their rules of the game.”
Shortly after the system’s deployment to Syria in November, an unnamed US official expressed concern over the move, saying, “It is a capable weapons system that poses a significant threat to anyone.”
Russia has been conducting airstrikes on Daesh at the request of the Syrian government since September 30.
US warplanes have also been conducting airstrikes against purported ISIL positions in Syria since last year; Press TV reported.
RT: A look at Russian air shield in Syria, including guided S-300 missile cruiser and S-400
Both the S-400 and the cruiser are protecting the Russian base, from which Russian warplanes fly anti-terrorist missions in Syria, from a possible aerial attack. They were deployed in response to the downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish fighter jets near the border, an incident that resulted in two Russian troops killed. Ankara claimed that it acted to protect its airspace after a 17-second incursion, an allegation that Moscow denied.
The Moskva has the naval version of S-400’s predecessor, the S-300F anti-aircraft system, which has a relatively short range of 75km or 150km, depending on the missile used. In total there are 64 missiles. The cruiser also has short-range surface-to-air missile, two kinds of ship cannons, torpedo launchers, depth charge launchers and its main weapon – the P-1000 Vulkan anti-ship guided missiles.