Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

'Ice Bucket Challenge' angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

#TECH 24

Tomorrow's Transport Today

Read more

FOCUS

Mothers and children leaving Honduras at all costs

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

US journalist Peter Theo Curtis freed in Syria

Read more

ENCORE!

An art wonderland: A burnt-out piano, a bed in a box and a giant magic mushroom

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Historian Jean Garrigues: 'For the first time, Hollande knows what he is doing'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

Middle east

Syria has received Russian missiles, Assad says

© Kremlin

Text by HAARETZ

Latest update : 2013-05-30

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that the regime has already received a shipment of S-300 air defence missiles from Russia and that “the rest will arrive soon”. He made the announcement in an interview with Hezbollah’s TV channel.

The Syrian government has already received a first shipment of S-300 air defense missiles from Russia and is currently waiting for more, President Bashar Assad told Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station in an interview set to be broadcast Thursday.

"Syria has got the first batch of Russian S-300 missiles ... The rest of the shipment will arrive soon," al-Assad was quoted as saying in excerpts of the interview released Thursday morning.

The Syrian president reiterated that his army would retaliate to any Israeli attack on its territory and said his government would not stand in the way of any Arab faction operating within its territory to "liberate" the Golan Heights from Israel.

Assad also said that his government would take in the Geneva 2 conference in June, an international summit aimed at ending the ongoing civil war in Syria. The Syrian president lambasted the opposition during the interview for conditioning peace talks on his resignation and the dissipation of his regime. Despite his condemnation of the opposition's terms, Assad also voiced pessimism at any chance of such talks succeeding.

The Syrian president said his army has won crucial victories on the field and that the cards were clearly in their favor in the ongoing civil war.

He did not deny Hezbollah's role in fighting alongside his army, but said the Syrian army was leading the battle.

"There are groups from Hezbollah on Lebanon's border areas, butthe Syrian army is commanding and fighting the war against the armed groups in Syria," al-Assad added in the interview. "The (Syrian) army will go ahead with the battle until terrorists are eliminated," he added, referring to rebels fighting to oust him.

He also told Al-Manar that there were more than 100,000 combatants of various nationalities fighting on Syrian territory.

The Syrian president's interview with Al-Manar comes two days after Russia confirmed plans to sell the surface-to-air defense missile systems to Assad's regime, and after the European Union lifted its arms embargo on the Syrian opposition.

Israel said it would look into reports that the first shipment had actually arrived. "I have no information beyond what has been reported, whichwe are looking into," an official told Reuters.

Israel, which has made veiled threats to prevent S-300 missiles from becoming operational in Syria, has lobbied the Russians against the sale and said on Tuesday that shipments had not yet been made. Israel's airspace would be within range of the system if it is deployed in Syria, a northern neighbor.

On Wednesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem declared that Syria "will retaliate immediately" if Israel strikes Syrian soil again. Earlier this month, Israeli warplanes allegedly struck near the Syrian capital, Damascus, targeting purported Iranian missiles intended for Assad's ally Hezbollah.

© Read premium content from leading Israeli daily Haaretz on FRANCE 24

 

Date created : 2013-05-30

  • SYRIA

    Pro-Assad troops reclaim airbase near Qusair

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    US calls on Hezbollah to leave Syrian conflict

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrian rebel chief warns Hezbollah over aiding Assad

    Read more

COMMENT(S)