May 17, 2013
Russia has sent advanced anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing American officials.
The officials stated that the move exemplifies the extent of Russia’s support for the Syrian government and its embattled leader, President Bashar Assad.
The missiles, called Yakhonts, are equipped with an advanced radar that renders them more effective, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified intelligence information.
Unlike the long-range surface-to-surface missiles that stand at the Assad regime’s disposal, the Yakhont anti-ship missile system allows the Syrian military to stand against potential efforts by international forces to impose a naval embargo or a no-fly zone on the country, or to carry out limited airstrikes in support of the Syrian opposition.