The Assad regime has found succor in another, more powerful quarter: Moscow has announced the deployment starting Wednesday, Oct. 17, of advanced S-400 interceptor missile batteries in Russia’s southern military region opposite Turkey.
Russian military spokesman Col. Igor Gorbul described those missiles as “targeting Turkey” against its involvement in NATO’s missile shield program. He emphasized that the S-400s are capable of destroying all types of airplanes, as well as ultra-stratospheric and ballistic missiles.
DEBKAfile’s military sources say that, beside the issue of the NATO missile defense system to which Russia is firmly opposed, Moscow is relaying a double warning to Ankara on two additional scores:
One, that any more interceptions of Syria-bound aircraft coming from Russia after the incident of Oct. 10 would bring forth a Russian military response; and two, that Moscow will not tolerate aerial intrusion in the Syrian conflict by Turkey or any other NATO member. This warning was directed specifically against the imposition of a no-fly zone over Syria which Turkey is in the process of enforcing.