According to the company, the systems are located on the newly created site near the Syrian city of Masyaf in the province of Hama. It was there that the Israeli aviation had previously delivered air strikes against targets related to the Syrian chemical weapons program.
ImageSat International claims that the systems are not yet operational, and it is not certain who services them, the Russians or the Syrians.
It is reported that S-300 systems are located 1.3 kilometers from the Russian anti-aircraft missile systems S-400. The location of the S-300 batteries is approximately 55 km from the Khmeimim Air Base and 45 km from the base of logistics of the Russian Navy in the Syrian port of Tartus.
After the crash of the Il-20, in which the Russian Defense Ministry accused Israel of, it was reported that Russia may begin to supply S-300 air defense systems to Syria.
Syrian anti-air defense systems shot down a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane over the Mediterranean sea in the early morning hours of September 18, killing all 15 crew members on board. The aircraft was shot down by an old Soviet S-200 system. The Russian Defense Ministry blamed not Syria, but Israel, whose F-16 fighters were attacking Syria’s Latakia province. The Russian military department claims that the Israeli pilots “were close to the Il-20 and put the large plane in the line of fire of the Syrian anti-air defense systems”.
The Israeli military claims that the F-16s had already returned to Israeli airspace when the S-200 opened fire on the Russian aircraft. Israel blames the Syrian soldiers who, firstly, fired haphazardly, and secondly, did not check whether the Russian Il-20 had vacated the skies.
After the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that in response to the incident, Russia would take “steps which everyone will notice”. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman emphasized that his country would continue its military operation in Syria, despite the incident with the Il-20.
On September 24, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu announced that Russia would begin deliveries of S-300 systems to Syria. The Russian decision to send these systems to Syria came after the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea. The aircraft was shot down on September 17 while returning to Khmeimim airbase. Fifteen Russian soldiers were killed as a result of this incident. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the IL-20 was shot down from a Syrian S-200 anti-aircraft while trying to repel an attack of Israeli aircraft in Latakia.
The Kremlin explained that the purpose of delivery of S-300 systems to Damascus is to ensure the safety of Russia military personnel. Presidential representative Dmitry Peskov then noted that the downing of the IL-20 was the result of the deliberate actions of the Israeli pilots.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Russian officers would help to operate the S-300 systems in Syria.