Military news: “Syrian Express” Russia

In the summer / fall of 2015 after the conclusion of the agreement with Syria about assistance of Russian government forces in the military conflict from Russia to Syria went to the flow of military and humanitarian cargo. Ongoing logistical operation was dubbed “Syrian Express” and is considered the largest foreign operation of this kind since the Soviet participation in the war in Afghanistan. The “Syrian Express” attracts the attention of foreign experts and the media.

The costs of conducting the campaign in Syria in foreign sources is estimated at between 2.5 to 8 million dollars per day such low cost for an active military campaign tied into the well-functioning and relatively cheap delivery of goods by sea.

The main departure point of the goods to Syria called ports of Sevastopol and Novorossiysk. In Syria a Russian cargo earlier because of secrecy took the port of Mina al-Beida North of the city of Latakia, since the start of the campaign in Syria’s main port — is the Russian base in Tartus.

In the fall of 2016, the Russian engineers also launched an upgraded railway line from Tartus to the base FSI of Russia in Hamim, which significantly simplified the transfer of cargo from the coast.

To send goods by sea, Russia uses large landing ships project 775. According to foreign analysts, the Russian use five ships of this class (“Azov”, “Queens”, “Yamal”, “Novocherkassk” and “Caesar Kunikov”) and the base in Tartus takes at least two such ships in a month. One BBC can carry up to 12 tanks and armored personnel carriers, 340 soldiers and 500 tons of cargo.

Also in the logistics operation involved large landing ships project 1171. There are three ship “Saratov”, “Nikolai Vilkov” and “Nicholas fil’chenkov.” BDK this project is able to carry up to 20 main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers or 45 or 50 trucks and 300 to 400 Marines. The ship can carry up to 1,000 tons of various cargoes. The base in Tartus accepts at least one such ship in a month.

According to Turkish sources, in the “Syrian Express” also involved the court “Dvinitsa-50”, “Kyzyl-60”, “Vologda-50”, “Kazan-60” purchased from Turkey and Ukraine, as well as SPARTA SPARTA II and III.

As reported in Reuters, a former Ukrainian cargo ship reefer “Georgy Agafonov”, idle and ravelli many years, was bought from Ukraine Turkish company for 300 thousand dollars in 2015. The idea is that the ship had to go for scrap. The Turkish company, the ship was already bought another offshore company, and in the fall of 2015, the former “Georgy Agafonov became Kazan-60” and became an auxiliary ship of the Navy of Russia.

Securing passage of Russian ships through the Bosporus took over Turkey, especially after the murder of the Russian Ambassador in Turkey Andrey Karlov. In may of this year, there have been reports that the Islamists plan to attack the “Syrian Express”. Turkish media reported that the country’s intelligence agencies are monitoring 146 points on the coast on the path of transit of the Russian ships, where the terrorists can somehow hold the attack.

Some Turkish Newspapers also wrote that all the Russian ships in the Strait accompanied by two boats of the Turkish coast guard and police helicopter. However, in numerous photos of passage of Russian ships through the Bosphorus is no Turkish “escort” is not observed.

Turkey is watching the passage of Russian ships, and on the website you can find a record of the fact of appearance of each ship in the Bosphorus Strait. From the beginning of 2017 to the end of may through the Strait passed 83 of the Russian ship.

As for the tankers and other cargo vessels, it is difficult to estimate how many of them went to Syria, as Russia traditionally uses this sea route for supplies to Europe.

In addition to the sea route actively loaded and air route. Used the an-124, Il-76 An-72 Tu-154. Cargo is delivered from Russia on the base in Hamim and in the airport of Damascus, an-124 and Il-76 almost daily.

It to the An-124 in 2015, during the start of the campaign promptly delivered s-400 “Triumph”, multipurpose helicopters Mi-8AMTSH “Terminator”, Mi-24, Mi-35M and other large loads.

An-72 is used on the base at Hamim for transportation within Syria (Damascus and Aleppo), and the Tu-154 of Russia will arrive specially important visitors, staff, advisors, special forces, but also a particularly valuable cargo.

According to foreign reports, the Russian exports to Syria of thousands of tons of cargo monthly. In December 2015, after several months of operation, the Minister of defence of Russia Sergey Shoigu said that over two months, military transport aviation and Maritime transport were transferred 214 thousand tons of various cargoes. In 2016 Sergei Shoigu said that Syria sent two thousand tons of cargo daily.

Russia in the spring has also been updating its base in Tartus. The Chairman of the defense Committee of the Federation Council Viktor Ozerov previously reported that already started survey works, connected with laying of pipeline for fuel, we started strengthening the quay walls. The main work in Tartus will unfold closer to the end of 2017, the modernization will take from six months to two years.

In Tartus can hold up to 11 Russian ships. Modernization of berths will accept and aircraft-carrying cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov”. With the modernization of the port will increase its role of a logistics base.

As said Viktor Ozerov: “We came to Syria for the long haul”.