ASTRAKHAN (South Russia), September 12 (RIA Novosti)
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Syria has shown interest in buying a whole range of advanced Russian air defense systems, a source in the Russian defense industry told RIA Novosti on Monday.
A group of Syrian observers is attending live firing drills during Combat Commonwealth air defense exercises carried out by CIS countries at the Ashuluk firing range in the Astrakhan Region near the Caspian Sea.
"Syria and some other countries are interested in long-range S-300 Favorit systems, medium-range Buk and short-range Tor," the source said. "Syrian experts want to make sure that these systems are indeed modern, powerful and effective weapons."
Syria, a major importer of Russian weapons, has bought MiG-29M fighter jets, Pantsir S1E and Buk-M2E air-defense systems from Russia, and hopes to receive MiG-29SMT fighters, Yak-130 combat trainers, Iskander tactical missile systems, and two Amur-1650 class diesel submarines.
Russia earlier announced it would honor a 2007 contract on the delivery of several Bastion anti-ship missile systems armed with Yakhont (SS-N-26) supersonic cruise missiles to Syria, despite efforts by Israel and the United States to stop the deal.
"We hope that the current political crisis in Syria will not affect the sales of Russian weaponry to that country," the source said. "The Syrian side has so far confirmed that it is ready to honor all existing contracts with Russia."
Russian experts believe that the expansion of arms exports to Syria could largely compensate for the loss of lucrative arms deals with Iran and Libya after a UN ban on arms sales to Tehran and the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
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- gibausyria& russia weapons deal07:09, 14/09/2011It is imperative that Russia supports Syria and honors the contracts with this strategically important country and help avoid what happened in Libya.
- Putin09.13.11.INTEL.BRIEFING-Syrian opposition forms "military" battalions 'without partisan interest.Syria's opposition has reported the formation of a military to fight Syrian President-US,UK,Saudi,fund,Israeli weapons12:17, 14/09/2011Syria NEEDS Russian Air DEFENSE NOW. Note: its 'not' OFFENSIVE military system(s)! READ!-Tuesday, September 13, 2011.INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING
Syrian opposition forms military battalions 'without partisan interest'
ANKARA — Syria's opposition has reported the formation of a military to fight President Bashar Assad.
The opposition said the so-called Free Syrian Army has formed several battalions assigned to fight Assad forces in central and northern Syria. The units were identified as the Muawiya Ibn Abu Sufyan and the Abu Ubeida Bin Jarrah, meant for deployment in the Damascus. In August, the Free Army said it established its first battalion in the northeastern city of Homs, a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency.
"This is a national army without partisan interests," Free Army commander Col. Riyad Assad said.
In a video statement, Assad, not believed to be related to the embattled president, urged Syrians to continue peaceful demonstrations against the regime. He pledged that the Free Army would protect civilians from regime forces, said to have killed more than 2,300 people since March.
"We will see the fall of the regime sooner than you expected," the opposition colonel said.
Opposition sources said hundreds of officers and soldiers defected from the Assad regime over the last three months. They reported the latest high-ranking defected as Col. Riyad Mussa Al Assad, an air force commander. Al Assad said he fled his 22nd Brigade becausse of what he termed "the repressive measures of the army against civilians."
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The failure of the Islamist political parties who came to power in the dramatic events of the Arab Spring would allow the military to reenter the political arena. Political Islam was successful in the opposition, but it could fail in power, as the negative experience of Egypt and Iraq have shown.