Russia has doubled the number of arms ships heading for Syria’s Tartous from the Black Sea through the Bosporus, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. The acceleration of Russian arms traffic to Syria has been noted in the last fortnight. The vessels are loaded with containers holding military hardware. It is believed that they contain quantities of advanced S-300 air defense missiles bound for Bashar Assad’s army and short-range Pantsir-S1 systems capable of intercepting UAVs and cruise missiles. The consignments also include large quantities of automatic 30mm cannons and radar equipment.
On Monday, April 23, high officials in Moscow released the following statement to Kommersant, a publication close to the Russian defense ministry: If Israel attacks the new air defense systems it will suffer “catastrophic consequences.”