Washington, Dec 8: Russia’s S-300 air defense systems should remain in Syria if they protect the country from airstrikes and enemies, a representative of the Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC) and member of the political committee of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) told Sputnik.
"If they are good for Syria, for sure we would like them to stay there," Hadi al-Bahra said on Friday. "We need to look at the cause. If they are there to protect the Syrian territories from enemies, airstrikes, then they are positive, but also they have not been tested yet to see how effective they are."
On October 2, Russia finished delivering S-300 systems to Syria in a bid to increase the security of Russian troops deployed there.
Al-Bahra said, however, that if the Russians are in Syria to fight the Islamic State (IS), a terrorist group banned in Russia, IS does not have any airplanes.
"If they are there to prevent Israel from carrying out airstrikes, they are not doing that, they are facilitating the Israeli air raids into Syria," he added.
The delivery of the systems was announced after a Russian Il-20 military plane was downed on September 17 by a missile launched by a Syrian S-200 air defense system targeting Israeli F-16 jets that were carrying out airstrikes in Latakia.
The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the crash on the Israeli Air Force, claiming that the Israeli jets used the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defense systems. Israel has voiced concerns over Russia's decision to supply Syria with S-300 systems, saying that Damascus would be able to control Israeli airspace.
Russia has been involved in military operations in Syria since 2015, after receiving a request from the Syrian government. Israel has been conducting airstrikes in Syria without permission from the Syrian government, but is justifying its actions by claiming it needs to counter Iran's military presence there. (UNI-Sputnik)