Russia’s fleet to counter US moves ahead of Syrian offensive
Source: Asia Time
Russia has beefed up its naval presence in the Mediterranean amid claims by Moscow that the United States is poised to launch a strike at Syrian forces preparing for a major offensive in Idlib.
Up to 11 Russian warships have crossed the Bosphorus as tensions between the US and Syria continue to rise.
“It included at least 10 vessels and two submarines – with more on the way,” the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia stated, adding that most of the flotilla is carrying Kalibr cruise missiles.
If the reports are correct, this would be the biggest task force sent by President Vladimir Putin’s government since Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict in 2015.
It also comes at a time when Moscow’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is believed to be on the brink of launching an assault on the last big rebel-held enclave of Idlib in the north of the country.
Russia has already accused the Washington administration of President Donald Trump of building up its own forces in the Middle East in preparation for a possible strike on Syrian government forces if they use chemical weapons.
On Aug. 25, the USS Ross entered the Mediterranean, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The guided-missile destroyer is armed with 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of hitting any target in Syria.