It's a Good Thing Obama Pushed That Reset Button
|Russian Cruiser Varyag.|
(TOI).flotilla of five Russian warships laden with hundreds of troops, which is headed toward Syria, is a show of force meant to deter Western armies from intervening in the war-torn nation, the London-based Sunday Times reported.
Previous reports cited Russian diplomats to the effect that the vessels were being put in place in order to evacuate thousands of Russians who still remain in Syria if the situation in the country called for it.
However, a Russian intelligence source was quoted on Sunday as saying that the presence of over 300 marines on the ships was meant as a deterrent to keep countries hostile to the Bashar Assad regime — a key ally of the Kremlin — from landing special forces in the country.
“Russia should be prepared for any developments, as it believes the situation in Syria might reach its peak before Easter,” a Russian diplomatic source was quoted as saying.
The ships are headed to the port of Tartus, where Russia has been operating a naval facility since signing an agreement with Bashar Assad’s father, Hafez, in 1971.
In a statement, the Russian Defense Ministry said the ships were preparing for a large naval maneuver whose aim was to “improve the management, maintenance and testing of the interaction of naval forces.”
The British newspaper on Sunday quoted an Israeli source who said that it was conceivable that a Russian ground force would step in “to defend the Alawite corridor stretched between the Lebanese border in the south and the Turkish border in the north.”
A military source told the Times that US forces could be ready “rapidly, within days,” and implied that the necessary forces were already in the region.
“The Russians will not tolerate Western ground intervention and stay idle,” an Israeli defense source was quoted as saying. “Syria is too important for Russia.