Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is paying off debts for Russian weaponry to strengthen ties with Russian President Vladamir Putin, Israel Hayom reported Friday.
Assad's payments to Russia increased in recent months, allowing the countries' alliance to strengthen. According to Israel Hayom:
Although it was not possible to say for certain if they are bringing weapons, the number of ships travelling to Syria from a Ukrainian port used by Russia's arms export monopoly has increased sharply since April.
The Russian defence industry source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Assad had started in recent months paying off a nearly $1 billion contract for four S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems and another $550 million order for 36 Yakovlev Yak-130 trainer fighter planes.