Over the past six days, Moscow has sent five large anti-submarine and landing ships to the shores of Syria
Russia is rapidly strengthening its military positions in Syria by sea and air ahead of talks between Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan, which will be held in Moscow on Thursday. Reuters reports this with reference to data from services that track the flights of aircraft and ships..
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan agreed to meet after tensions erupted between the two countries over clashes between Moscow-backed Syrian government forces and rebels allied with Ankara.
As a result of the hostilities, there was a threat of a direct clash between the Turkish and Russian military operating in the immediate vicinity of the belligerent parties. Erdogan hopes talks will lead to ceasefire in Idlib.
Reuters analyzed data from services that track aircraft flights and ship movements in the Bosphorus Strait in northwestern Turkey. It turned out that Russia began to ramp up air and sea supplies to Syria on February 28, a day after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air raid in Syria..
As a result of the incident, Moscow worries that Turkey may close the Bosphorus to Russian warships and ban Russian military aircraft from using Turkish airspace..
The Russian Defense Ministry has not yet responded to a request to comment on the situation. The Turkish representative, who did not want to introduce himself, said that there are no plans to block the strait for Russian ships.
However, Russia seems to be strengthening its position in Syria at the fastest pace since October, when the US military withdrew from parts of Syria, and Moscow tried to quickly fill the resulting vacuum..
According to data on shipping through the Bosphorus, Russia sent five warships towards Syria over a six-day period starting February 28. This significantly exceeds the usual rates of one or two ships per week..
Russia’s Putin holds bilateral talks with Turkey’s Erdogan
The Russian military announced the dispatch of anti-submarine ships Admiral Grigorovich and Admiral Makarov to Syria. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation did not report on the dispatch of three more ships. Among the ships sent to the shores of Syria is the landing ship “Orsk”, designed to carry 20 tanks, 50 trucks or 45 armored personnel carriers, as well as up to 400 servicemen. Other military vessels include the landing ships Novocherkassk and Caesar Kunikov, designed to transport up to 300 servicemen, tanks and armored vehicles.
In response, Turkey has tightened the escort protocol for Russian ships passing through the Bosphorus. Russian anti-submarine ships passed through the strait, accompanied by three Turkish patrol boats and a helicopter. Usually ships are accompanied by one Coast Guard vessel.