It was reported Turkey sighted three Russian warships passing through the Bosporus last Thursday en route to Syria.
Debka File, an Israeli military intelligence website, reported on Saturday that the armada, composed of the Krivak Class Pytlivy missile frigate, the Tapir class LST (tank landing ship) Orsk, and a landing craft, the Nikolai Filchenko. The Filchenko is the largest landing craft in the Russian fleet capable of transporting 300 soldiers and either 20 tanks and trucks or 40 armored personnel carriers.
“Debka File’s military sources conclude that the two large Russian landing craft consigned from the Black Sea to Syria are almost certainly carrying Russian marines or special forces for attacking rebel groups in Idlib from the sea or the coast,” the site reported.
Idlib is one of the final holdouts for rebel troops fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Russia already has a significant military presence in Syria to support Assad. Debka reported that approximately 60-70,000 Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels with heavy weaponry and armored vehicles have reportedly answered a call by the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization to begin an offensive to conquer Aleppo and Hama. The rebels are supported militarily and financially by Turkey. The conflict in Syria has set Russia and Turkey increasingly at odds.
The US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on its board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago and a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the Al Udeid air base in Qatar