According to the Israeli publishing house Ha'aretz, Russian President Vladimir Putin has informed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Russia intends to sell some air defence systems to Syria.
'We are worried by this decision and believe that it should not have been taken', said Sharon. 'We are discontented by the fact that weaponry is sold to Syria, especially up-to-date weaponry, which may later be handed over to terrorist organisations'.
Israel is strongly opposed to the sale in question. Sharon has repeatedly warned Putin that sale of missiles to Syria can jeopardise Israel's security, as they may finally turn out in the hands of fighters of the Lebanese Hizbullah terror organisation supported in Syria.
In his letter to Sharon, Putin emphasises that the matters concerns missile systems based on mobile platforms rather than portable missile systems being used by terrorists, therefore the systems in question can pose no threat to Israel. Besides, according to Putin, Syria can deploy the missiles so that the balance of forces in the region will be retained.
No information is unveiled so far as to what kind of missiles will be sold. Previously it was believed that Syria would receive Russian SA-18 (Igla) missile systems. Some Israeli experts thought that Russia would sell to Syria upgraded Iglas installed on mobile platforms.