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Friday, April 7, 2017

Russia To Upgrade Syria Air Defenses, Suspends Airspace Pact With U.S.

The Russian ministry of defense said in a statement that "to protect key Syrian infrastructure a range of measures will be taken reinforce and improve the effectiveness of the Syrian armed forces air defense." The announcement came as the Admiral Grigorevich, a cruise missile carrying frigate, passed through the Bosporus en-route to Russia's Syrian navy base at Tartus.
Also on Friday Russia announced it had halted its air safety agreement with the US, meant to avoid "air incidents" with the US over Syria, saying US air strikes had caused “considerable” damage to Moscow-Washington relations. The memorandum, signed in October 2015, was designed to avoid clashes in the crowded airspace over Syria, with each side giving the other warning over planned strikes.
The defense ministry also said that six MiG-23 fighter jets were destroyed in the US missile strike on a Syrian airfield in Homs province, but the runway remained intact.  The strike on the Shayrat airfield in Syria’s Homs Province destroyed a material storage depot, a training facility, a canteen, six MiG-23 aircraft in repair hangars and a radar station.
Two Syrian servicemen are missing as a result of the US attack on an airfield in the country, while four were killed and six were injured extinguishing the flames, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Friday. "According to the information of the leadership of the Syrian airbase, two Syrian servicemen went missing, four were killed and six received burn injuries during the firefighting," he said.
The runway, taxiways and the Syrian aircraft on the parking apron remained undamaged, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman said in a statement. The ministry described the combat efficiency of the strike as “quite poor.”
“On April 7, 2017, between 3:42 am and 3:56 am Moscow time, two US Navy destroyers (USS Porter and USS Ross) fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat airfield in Homs Province, Syria, from an area near the Island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea.
“According to our sources, only 23 of them reached the Syrian airbase,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said, adding that the points of impact of the other 36 cruise missiles remain unknown.

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