On 1 July, video was posted on the Web of an object that landed on Cyprus north of the capital of Nicosia and started a fire. The Cypriot foreign minister said it was Russian-made missile, launched by Syria against an air strike. Photos posted to social media indicated it was an S-200 surface-to-air missile, which has been supplied to the Syrian Arab Army. Multiple reports indicate Syria was responding to an alleged Israeli air raid.
The Russian state news agency RIA Novosti referred to the missile as an “unidentified object,” but later acknowledged that it was a missile, citing Turkish journalist Hüseyin Ekmekçi, who initially misidentified the missile as an S-125, an earlier model of Soviet-made surface-to-air missile (Ekmekçi later posted an update correctly identifying it as an S-200). RIA Novosti, however, at the time of this publication, did not correct or update its headline but continued referring to the missile as an “unidentified object.”
This is not the first time Syrian air-defense has had problems with their S-200 system. Last September, an S-200 accidentally downed a Russian reconnaissance plane, also around the time of an Israeli air raid. The accident was believed to have been a result of human error – failure to properly identify the target before launching the missile.