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Russian forces carry out manoeuvres near Syrian coast

February 17, 2014 at 1:50 am

The Russian Defence Ministry has revealed that its armed forces have started military manoeuvres in the eastern Mediterranean Sea near the Syrian coast, at a time when Moscow is insisting on its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A statement from Moscow said that Marine Corps units are taking part aboard Russian warships from the Black Sea, Baltic and Northern Fleets. The exercises include defence procedures against air and sea attacks, as well as combat communication. The ministry pointed out, however, that Anti-Terrorism Units are also taking part in exercises such as securing ships already at anchor.

“This region is of great geopolitical importance for Russia,” said a spokesman for the Russian Armed Forces, “especially as there is a base supplying the Russian fleet in the Syrian port of Tartus, which obliges us to hold our training exercises there.”

According to Russian media sources, the goal of the manoeuvres is to “introduce” the armed forces to the “military activity taking place in the area”. He alluded to the possibility that Russian forces may be involved in a military operation in Syria at some point in time.