By Jeremy Herb - 05/31/13 01:47 PM EDT
On Thursday, a pro-Hezbollah newspaper had reported that Syrian President Bashar Assad told a Lebanese TV station a shipment of the S-300s had already been delivered. In the interview, however, Assad was more vague, saying he was “committed” to fulfilling existing contracts, according to The Washington Post.
Russian officials have said that they will deliver the S-300 batteries to Assad’s regime, arguing after the European Union embargo expired that the missiles would help deter “hotheads.”
The S-300s would be an upgrade for Assad’s forces and would make it more difficult for Western or Israeli aircraft to take out Syria’s air defenses.
The U.S. and others have urged Russia not to sell the missiles to Syria, and Israel has threatened to attack the shipment.