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News Brief

January 26, 2005
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Bashar Assad confirmed that Syria is seeking to buy Russian anti-aircraft missiles, saying they are needed for self-defense. “This is a defensive, air defense, weapon,” the Syrian president told reporters Tuesday during a visit to Moscow. “If Israel is against us buying it, it means it wants to invade our airspace. The Israeli stance is illogical.” Russia previously had denied Israeli reports that it planned to sell Syria an undisclosed number of SA-18 shoulder-fired missiles. Israel fears the weapons could find their way into the hands of Hezbollah or Palestinian terrorist groups, all of which are backed by Damascus.

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