31.5.2013 – MESOP – President Bashar Al-Assad said the Syrian army holds “the balance of power” in the country’s conflict, and that Syria has received the first shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. Assad spoke with Hezbollah-linked Al Manar TV in an interview set to be broadcast on Thursday and reported on by Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar.
There is no evidence yet that the missiles have arrived, and some military analysts believe it is a bluff. Assad claimed that the Syrian army has “scored major victories against armed rebels on the ground” and admitted to collaborating with Hezbollah. Israel has expressed concerns over the Russian weapons delivery and has threatened to prevent the advanced missile defense system from reaching the Syrian government. Assad said, “The Syrian government will not stand in the way of any Syrian groups that want to wage a war of resistance to liberate the Golan.”