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Saturday, October 8, 2005
Syria prepares for arrival of Russian S-18 missiles

Syria prepares for arrival of Russian S-18 missiles
Geostrategy-Direct, www.geostrategy-direct.com, October 11, 2005

MOSCOW - A Syrian military delegation headed by chief of staff Gen. Ali
Habib has concluded arrangements for the delivery of the S-18 Igla-S
missiles, Russian industry sources said. The Syrian delegation, which
completed a three-day visit to Russia on Sept. 30, discussed delivery,
training and maintenance of the S-18 as well as the procurement of other
weapons.

"The two countries have agreed that [S-18] delivery would begin no later
than early 2006," an industry source said.

During his visit, Habib and his delegation toured Syrian defense facilities,
including the production line of the S-18, manufactured by KBM Engineering
Design Bureau. Industry sources said Habib discussed such issues as support
and training for the S-18 with his Russian counterpart, Yuri Baluyevsky, as
well as representatives from the Russian state arms export agency
Rosoboronexport.

The sources said the S-18, originally a shoulder-fired surface-to-air
missile, has been modified for deployment on Soviet-origin armored personnel
carriers in the Syrian Army. The system is designed to fit more than one
vehicle.

On Sept. 28, Habib met Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in Moscow. The
Russian Defense Ministry said the meeting focused on "maintenance and
modernization of Syrian military equipment by Russian experts, the training
of Syrian military in Russian military academies and potential purchases of
Russian weapons."

Habib also reached agreement with Russia for additional purchases of
munitions. Industry sources said they included the Kornet-E anti-tank
missile, procured by Syria over the past two years.

Moscow also agreed to increase the training of Syrian military officers, a
Russian Defense Ministry official told the Interfax news agency. The
official said the number of Syrian military personnel invited for study in
Russia would increase from 30 to more than 50.

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