ISTANBUL, Turkey - Aircraft believed to be Israeli bombed a military complex on the outskirts of Damascus' international airport Sunday in what Syrian state television said was an attack on warehouses containing an advanced Russian-made antiaircraft system.
An attack would be consistent with repeated Israeli pledges that it would not allow Syria to deploy the S-300 antiaircraft missile system, and raised the question of whether Russia had sent new components of the system to Syria, perhaps in violation of an August pledge not to do so under the terms of a U.N. arms embargo.
The Israeli military offered no comment on the report.
The government-operated Syrian Arab News Agency blamed Israel directly for the strikes.
What video shows
Video accompanying the government television report showed jets dropping antiaircraft flares as they zoomed through the sky - supposedly the raiding planes - followed by explosions in the distance. The video was similar to postings on Twitter and other social media by users claiming to have witnessed the attack. All the video indicated the airstrikes came in daylight.
The Russian sale of the S-300 antiaircraft system to Syria has long been controversial. Israel first objected to the sale when it was agreed to in 2007, fearing that the system, with a range of nearly 50 miles, would allow the Syrians to shoot down Israeli aircraft while they flew in Israeli airspace. Considered one of the most sophisticated antiaircraft defense systems in the world, it is said to be able to track as many as 100 targets simultaneously.
An agreement to sell the system to Iran collapsed under international pressure in 2010.
Russia and Syria have both acknowledged that some S-300 components have been delivered. But Russia said in August that it would suspend delivery of the complete system because of the U.N. arms embargo against Syria. While Russia has used its veto in the U.N. Security Council to block a complete blockade on arms sales to Syria, it acknowledged that other sanctions covered the S-300, which would be a significant upgrade in Syria's air defense capabilities.
An Aug. 11 report by Russia's Interfax-AVN military news agency said the decision to cancel further deliveries of the S-300 system had been made by Russia's "political leadership."
It quoted Konstantin Buryulin, the deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, as saying that already delivered components "will be disposed of" if an "appropriate application" is not found. Janes Defence Weekly first reported the statement on Aug. 14.