x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Russia to sell MiG fighter jets to Syria

A Russian arms manufacturer said it is signing a contract to deliver at least 10 fighter jets to Syria.

MOSCOW // A Russian arms manufacturer said it is signing a contract to deliver at least 10 fighter jets to Syria.

Sergei Korotkov, general director of the MiG company that makes the jets, told Russian news agencies today that a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss terms and deadlines of a new contract supplying MiG-29 M/M2 fighters to Syria.

Mr Korotkov did not say how many MiGs Syria were buying, but says it would be "more than 10".

Moscow, meanwhile, said is unlikely to deliver a shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria before the autumn, a Russian arms industry source told Interfax.

The source suggested the delivery could be accelerated if neighbouring countries carried out air attacks on Syria or if a no-fly regime were to be imposed on the country.

"Regarding the deliveries of the S-300, they can begin no earlier than the autumn. Technically it's possible, but much will depend on how the situation develops in the region and the position of Western countries," said the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Russia has promised to fulfil an order of the long-range surface-to-air missiles to Syria, saying it hopes to deter foreign military intervention in Syria.

The S-300s can intercept manned aircraft and guided missiles and Western experts say their delivery could improve Assad's chances of retaining power.