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article imageSenator Leahy: Syrian air defenses 'not as good as were said'

By Michael Krebs     May 5, 2013 in Politics
Appearing on NBC's 'Meet The Press,' Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) openly suggested that Syria does not appear to be protected by Russian-made air defense systems, giving a further green light for more Israeli air-strikes.
In the wake of the second Israeli strike within Syria in a two-day period, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) - appearing on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday - shared his observation that Syrian anti-aircraft defenses do not appear to be that effective.
Syria's air defenses are supplied by Russia and have been considered a formidable obstacle for meaningful and sustained air assaults.
"I think the fact that they were able to go in there shows that perhaps the Russian-supplied air defense systems are not as good as were said," Senator Leahy said. The full transcript of the "Meet The Press" program is provided here.
Senator Leahy is the senior most member of the appropriations committee, serving on defense and homeland security subcommittees.
"Massive explosions" just outside of Damascus were reported on Sunday, according to Russia's, and the strike was believed to have hit a Syrian military installation.
The latest Israeli strike prompted the Syrian regime to accuse Israel of having declared war on the Syrian nation.
"Syria is a country that does not accept insults and it doesn't accept humiliation," said Omran Zoabi, Syria's information minister, as The Guardian reported on Sunday.
While it appears that the Israeli government is acting in coordination with the US government, it remains unclear just how much of a green light President Obama has given to Israel on Syria. However, Senator Leahy's comments reflect American confidence that further air-strikes are possible without significant resistance.
More about Syria, Israel, Sen patrick leahy, Middle East, Airstrike
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