Four Russian warships sailed for Syria. Exercise or impending attack?

MOSCOW, (BM) – Sources of BulgarianMilitary.com report the passage of four Russian warships through the Strait of Gibraltar. These boats are the corvette Boikiy and the three landing warships Kaliningrad, Korolev, and Minsk.

According to sources in the Russian news agency Aviapro, the four warships have headed for the eastern Mediterranean in the direction of Syria. Currently, several submarines of the Russian Navy armed with Caliber cruise missiles locate there.

Military analysts wonder whether this surprise Russian offensive is a signal of an impending naval exercise or an attack in the northwestern part of the Arab Republic. There is no officially confirmed information from the Ministry of Defense for the warships. There are speculations that they may also supply combat equipment, including tanks, for an impending ground offensive against pro-Turkish jihadists.

The Russian news agency has released its chart of the current location of the Russian Navy off the coast of Syria and the ratio of other vessels from other countries.

Four Russian warships sailed for Syria. Exercise or impending attack?
Photo credit: Aviapro

If there is an impending attack, it will be powerful

The Russian military in Syria is following the instructions of its commanders-in-chief. The last two or three years have shown that Russia is at both extremes in Syria’s war. When he is “silent,” he does it for months. When he attacks, he does it quickly, surprisingly, and powerfully. An example of the latter is an analysis by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

On March 11 this year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights provided statistics on Russian activity in Syria. According to reports, Russia has carried out 280 airstrikes in 96 hours (four days). According to the SOHR, Russian units performed almost half of them (130) in the last 24 hours.

The SOHR also says that the Syrian army has also increased its activity. In 24 hours, the Syrian Arab Army fired 225 artillery shells and missiles. There is still no exact death toll from the Russian and Syrian attacks, but experts believe the casualties could reach about 300.

Russian aerospace forces have struck the eastern Hama Desert, the vicinity of Al-Rahjan-Atariya, the Aleppo-Al-Raqqa-Hama Triangle, and the Palmyra Desert in east Homs. Not only Islamic State positions but also units supporting the Turkish occupation of Syria have been targeted. The death toll from Islamic State is 43, according to the SOHR.

The Syrian Arab Army has fought mainly in Jabal Ez-Zawiya in Idlib province, concentrated in Al-Fatira, Safokhin, Kansafra, Al-Ruwaiha, Benin, Flifel, and the outskirts of al-Baraha.

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Does Moscow prepare a powerful blow? It has already delivered Su-34 fighter-bombers

As we reported a few days ago, Moscow has delivered four fighter-bombers to the Kmeimim airbase in Syria. On March 19, 2021, the delivery took place after five Tu-154 military transport planes landed at the base.

Analysts say the appearance of the Su-34 is very unusual, especially for military action in Syria. Some suggest that the Russian Su-34s will be fighter jets that will “fight” Turkish armored vehicles in Idlib and Latakia. A source from the Russian Ministry of Defense, who was on board one of the five transport planes, said they took off from the Volga airport near Astrakhan and flew over the Caspian Sea.

There are two versions in the Russian media. The first one will be Moscow’s response to Ankara after Erdogan begins sending massive Turkish armored vehicles to the Arab Republic. The second version is that this is a rotation of Russian troops on the territory of Syria. We have seen similar American’ processes, who rotate their troops in Iraq and Syria almost every three months.

War in Syria

In February 2020, Turkey lost at least 62 troops killed in Syria. Nearly 100 soldiers were wounded, Syrian-backed forces destroyed dozens of Turkish armored vehicles, and more than ten drones, including drones, were shot down. Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of involvement in the deaths of Turkish soldiers, Russia rejects these allegations.

In early March, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed that a ceasefire came into force in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later said that if the US and Turkish military did not leave the country, Damascus would use power.

The reason for the Russian-Turkish negotiations was a sharp aggravation of the situation in Idlib, where in January, a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army against the positions of the armed opposition and terrorists began.

Government forces recaptured nearly half of the Idlib de-escalation zone and left behind several Turkish observation posts. After that, Ankara sharply increased its military contingent in the region and launched the operation “Spring Shield” to push the Syrian troops. Militants are loyal to Ankara and support Turkey.

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