Russia is deploying its most advanced missile defense system to Syria, likely to deter any U.S. plans to increase strikes on non-Islamic State targets.
“Nusra doesn’t have an air force do they?” one U.S. official sarcastically told Fox News when asked who the system was meant to deter. Nusra is a reference to al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, who Russia often says they target. The official’s comment implies the U.S. believes Russia’s deployment is meant to constrain U.S. options in Syria.
The U.S. Department of State cut off all bilateral relations with Russia over Syria Monday, after Russia refused to stop indiscrimately bombing the city of Aleppo on behalf of the Assad regime. U.S. defense officials confirmed Russia will be able to thwart any potential U.S. cruise missile strikes in Syria with the new system.