Syria receives Russian missile shipment, says Assad

  • Syria has received the first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft missiles, according to President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday.

    "Syria has received the first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets," Assad said in an interview with Lebanon’s al-Manar television channel.

    Al-Manar is linked to Assad's ally, the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah.

    "The Syrian army is the one fighting and leading the battles against the armed group, and this fight will continue until all those who are called terrorists are eliminated,” added Assad.

    On Tuesday, Russia announced it would provide the Syrian government with deliveries of the missile system.

    The move was announced a day after the European Union decided not to renew an arms embargo on Syria set to expire on June 1.

    Moscow is a firm supporter of Assad. Its decision to back his government comes in a bid to strike a balance against Western-backed rebels.

    Earlier this month, Israeli intelligence sources told Washington that Syria had began making payments for the $900 million purchase of the S-300s, with the first delivery due within three months.

    Since March 2011, more than 80,000 people have been killed in Syria following the start of an uprising against Assad and his family’s 40-year rule.

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