Photographic evidence suggesting that Syria has begun deployment of the Russian-made S-300 air defense system was published on Tuesday by an Israeli satellite imaging company.
ImageSat International revealed that three of the four launchers of the S-300 system at the Masyaf base have been erected.
“It is possible that the mentioned activity indicates [an] increase of the operational level and alertness,” the company said, but hedged that the significance of the development still needs to be clarified.
The unoperational position of one of the launchers in the battery — folded down and covered by a camouflage net — was described as a “rare” situation which raises questions about the overall operational readiness.
The Russians have reportedly been training Syrian military personnel in the use of the S-300 since their delivery in the country last October.
Moscow said it would also install electronic countermeasures along Syria’s coastline to suppress satellite navigation, onboard radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory.