A Russian naval task force led by aircraft carrier docks at Syrian port

The force, which includes the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Admiral Levchenko destroyer and the Nikolay Chiker salvage tug, was due to call in at the Syrian port of Tartus Monday, Jan. 12 after carrying out joint exercises with the Turkish navy last week.
debkafile‘s military sources report that the arrival of the Russian flotilla in wartime is unusual and especially significant given Syria’s role as one of the staunchest backers of Hamas which is embroiled in a war against Israel further down the coast in Gaza.
Our sources believe Moscow may be signaling its disapproval of Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.
debkafile‘s military sources report that 50 Russian seamen are permanently based at the Syrian maintenance and resupply facility, the only Russian base in the Mediterranean.
Russia is expanding Tartus port, which has six piers and building a pier at a second Syrian port – Latakia.
During the Russian-Georgian War last August, the Russian government decided to turn the Syrian port into a back-up facility for its Black Sea fleet and its base at the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol.

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