Russia flies anti-air, anti-ship missiles to Assad as its fleet heads to Tartus

Russian marine landing craftMoscow is using the time up until Russian President Vladimir Putin faces US President Barack Obama across the G20 conference table in Los Cabos, Mexico Sunday, June 17 – or in its corridors – to ship sophisticated arms to Syria able to prevent a no-fly zone and a fleet of warships to the Mediterranean port of Tartus.

While Pentagon sources Friday disclosed the approach of a “small contingent” of Russian warships to Tartus, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence

sources have discovered that heading for the Russian base at this Syrian port is a Russian fleet that includes Ropucha-toad or Project 775 class landing-craft carrying Russian marines. Each craft can carry 250 marine personnel and 500-ton armored vehicles.

And flying overhead are Russian air transports that are touching down at Syrian air bases bearing, according to our sources, a variety of sophisticated munitions for the Syrian army: advanced Russian Pantsyr-S1 anti-air missiles capable of hitting fighter-bombers flying at an altitude of 12 kilometers and cruise missiles; self-propelled medium range anti-air Buk-M2 missiles (NATO codenamed SA-11). They are capable of downing aircraft flying at an altitude of 14 kilometers and Mach 32 speed; and shore-based Bastion anti-ship missiles which can reach vessels sailing 300 kilometers out to sea.

Russia is, in a word, supplying Bashar Assad, his regime and his army, with the very weapons they may need for warding off Western and Arab air efforts to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, while at the same time enabling him to repel seaborne assaults by his foes from the Mediterranean.

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