Gen. Dempsey: Russian missiles will prolong Syria's suffering

Army General Martin E. Dempsey said at a Pentagon news conference on Friday that Russia's planned delivery of advanced anti-ship missiles and the S-300 air defense system to Syria will prolong the suffering.

The Syrian civil war has lasted over two years and escalated in the past year. The death toll for the war is pegged at 80,000, almost of half of which are civilians.

"There are several capabilities that Syria has not used responsibly including chemical weapons, long-range rockets, missiles and high-end air defense," Dempsey said. "The things they have in their control, we have things to deal with. We do not have options in any way to prevent the delivery of any military sales to Syria."

Dempsey gave the press conference along with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who echoed his concerns over the new developments in Syria.

"What we don't want to see happen is for Syria to erupt to a point where we may find a regional war," Hagel said. "We continue to work with the Russians and do everything we can to convince the powers in the region to be careful with escalation of military options and equipment."

Dempsey went on to say that the new shipment of missiles pose a serious threat for suffering because of their longer range and multiple tracking capabilities. He also said it increases the risk, but is not impossible to overcome.

"We are already doing a lot in Syria on the humanitarian side, the non-lethal side," Hagel said.