Sends at Least 12 Warships to Syria
Deployment presumably a warning to Israeli and Western officials
regarding military intervention against Assad
By Times of Israel staff
19, 2013 "Information
Clearing House" -"Times
Of Israel"- In
a move considered aggressive by US and European officials,
Russia has sent at least 12 warships to patrol waters near its
naval base in Tartous, Syria.
deployment appears to be a warning to Israeli and Western
officials against military intervention in Syria’s bloody civil
war, which has now claimed the lives of over 80,000 people.
increased presence in the region — which began raising eyebrows
in the US three months ago — represents one of its largest
sustained naval deployments since the Cold War, the Wall Street
Journal reported on Thursday.
“It’s a show of force. It’s muscle flexing,” a top US official
told the Journal.
Russian news sources reported earlier Thursday that five
warships had entered the Mediterranean Sea to bolster the
country’s new regional task force. The vessels were scheduled to
dock in Limassol, Cyprus.
In March, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that
the naval task force was needed in order to protect Russian
interests in the region.
Also Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shrugged
off Israeli pleas not to sell sophisticated S-300 air defense
systems to Bashar Assad’s regime, saying Moscow would fulfill
its contract with Damascus. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
reportedly warned Russian President Vladimir Putin, in emergency
talks on Tuesday, that the sale could push the region toward
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