Published: Saturday, June 1, 2013

Russia to supply fighter jets to Syria

Denies missile delivery to regime; UN adds Al-Nusra to sanctions list

Russia to supply fighter jets to Syria

MIG-29 fighter jet

Russia could supply 10 ultra-modern MiG-29 fighter jets to Syria under a possible contract being discussed with a visiting delegation from Damascus, Interfax reported as media reports yesterday denied any S-300 air defence missile systems delivery to the Syrian regime.
The Russian news agency quoted MiG corporation director general Sergei Korotkov as saying that the details of the contract were now under discussion.
“There is a Syrian delegation in Moscow at the moment. We are determining the details of this contract,” Interfax quoted Korotkov as saying.
“I think that they will be delivered to Syria,” he added in apparent reference to the MiG-29 fighters, which are one of the most modern jets used in the Russian airforce today.
The Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies said the contract involved 10 fighters but gave no other details.
On Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared to imply that Russia could have already shipped part of the highly controversial consignment, without naming the missiles directly.
But both sources quoted by Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers said that no delivery of the missiles had taken place yet. The contract was agreed in 2010 and according to Vedomosti is worth $1 billion.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council yesterday added the Syrian militant group Al-Nusra Front to its global sanctions list because of its links to al-Qaeda.
The group, a feared force battling President Bashar al-Assad, is now subject to an international asset freeze and arms embargo, according to an announcement made by the Security Council’s al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
France and Britain jointly sought Al-Nusra’s designation after blocking a demand by the Syrian government.
Al-Nusra leader Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani last month pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, confirming suspicions of ties between the rebel group and the militant group.
The US government designated Al-Nusra a terrorist organization last year.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s parliament yesterday voted to extend its mandate and delay elections after failing to adopt a new electoral law at a time of deep divisions over the war in neighbouring Syria.
In Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that delivering Russian S-300s to Syria would be “not helpful” to the US-Russian peace bid.