Israeli Satellite Spots the S-300 Missile Site in Syria

Satellite images taken in the recent days show work in progress at what looks like the new S-300 missile base located north-west of Masyaf. The seequence shows revetments built at the site to protect the system's control systems and launchers. Photo: Satellite Imagesat International (ISI)

Israel closely watches the whereabouts of the new S-300 surface to air missile system, delivered by Russia to Syria last month, Defense-Update reports.

An Israeli spy satellite has spotted their location northwest of the town of Masyaf in the mountain region, about 30 km from the Mediterranean sea. From its current location, the Syrian missiles dominate a radius of up to 250 kilometers, covering the entire Lebanese airspace, the eastern part of the island of Cyprus, parts of southern Turkey and northern Israel, down to the Sea of Galilee.

The Israeli satellite images acquired earlier today indicate four S-300 launchers are currently deployed in the newly constructed post, while additional elements are still missing. According to an intelligence analysis report provided Imagesat International, the Syrian S-300 is not currently operational. The newly arrived unit is deployed within 1.3 km distance of the Russian S-400 surface to air missile site at Maysaf. Currently, it is not clear whether the new site is controlled by Syria or Russia.

A satellite image taken two days ago shows groups of large vehicles, covered by camouflage nets at a new site north-west of Masyaf, assessed to be the recently delivered S-300 PMU-2 SAM unit recently removed from Russian Army active service. Another satellite image that was taken by Imagesat earlier today shows the deployment of four launchers, protected inside earthwork berms.Photo: Satellite Imagesat International (ISI)

Elements of the S-300 unit, mainly launchers, arrived at Hmeimim airfield by the end of last month. Satellite imagery provided by Imagesat show these elements deployed at a temporary site near the airfield, while construction was underway at the permanent site. This location is designed with earthwork revetments typical of surface-to-air missile posts. These elements were likely moved to the recently spotted Maysaf location by the third week of October.

Elements that seem to be parts of the S-300 delivered to Syria were grouped last week at a temporary site, According to an intelligence report produced by Imagesat International.

According to Russian sources the S-300 will be controlled by Russian operators until the Syrian crews are trained, a process the Israelis estimate could take until March 2019. These operators possibly share the existing facilities of the Russian S-400 unit located nearby. Even after the Syrians are fully trained, it is likely that Russian controllers will continue embedding with the Syrian crews.