Asharq Al-Awsat (Saudi Arabia): Russia has demonstrated the muscles during the parade of the Navy in Tartus

On Sunday Russia celebrated the Day of the Navy. Not without messages to foreign players: Moscow has decided to show the world the muscles, staging a parade, which included military ships, a part of the Russian task force in the Syrian shores.

This is not the first case when Syria held a military parade showcasing the capabilities of the Russian armed forces. Hiking and aviaparade in honor of the Victory Day held at the Russian base Hamim 2016.

In addition, Russian forces have conducted dozens of naval exercises and maneuvers off the coast of Tartus. In the Soviet period, this naval base was only a “maintenance center” where ships sailing through the Mediterranean sea, arrived to refuel or repair in case of an emergency. After recovery and expansion of the base in Tartus is one of Russia’s largest naval bases outside the country. Conducting numerous exercises, Russia is using Syria to send military messages to different forces in the world related to the Syrian crisis.

The last time such maneuvers took place a few weeks ago when the crew of the frigate “Admiral Makarov”, performing tasks as part of a permanent operational group of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean sea, carried out actions to repel enemy air attack and underwater attack of the conditional opponent. Thus the statement of the Russian Ministry of defense described the exercises, held in the period of intensified military preparations in several countries around Syria.

As reported, the Russian defense Ministry, during the exercise duty of defense on the frigate “Admiral Makarov” has received information about the approach of enemy aircraft, after which the soldiers determined his location and destroyed by using electronic launchers missile complex “Shtil-1”. Also, the military has deployed anti-sabotage posts and equipment to repel submarine attacks of the enemy.

The recent parade on the occasion of Day of the Navy showed the world the possibility of Russian warships and auxiliary vessels.

For the first time participated in the parade of diesel-electric submarine of project 636.3 “Novorossiysk”. Along with the frigate “Admiral Makarov” you could see seagoing minesweeper “Vice-Admiral Zakhar’in” and vessels of the auxiliary fleet — kolektorna the ship KIL-158 and rescue tug SB-36.

In the aviation part of the parade was attended by transport and combat helicopters of naval aviation Ka-27PS, Mi-8AMTSH and Mi-35. In the sky also appeared bombers su-24, su-34, su-35, the plane of distant radar detection A-50 transport aircraft an-26 and An-72 of the Russian space forces.

Such an impressive scale of the event suggests that Moscow enters a new phase of expansion and consolidation of its military presence in Syria, concluding the accession of new territory, and close to two air force bases in Hamima and Navy in Tartus, not to mention other bases and airfields, where the presence of Russian troops became a reality and their number is constantly increasing.

At the same time, Moscow is working to create the legal Foundation for all these operations through the adoption of the additional Protocol to the agreement on the Russian military presence in Syria, which was signed by the two governments in 2015. It is noteworthy that the Kremlin announced the preparation of the draft Protocol and instructed the Ministries of foreign Affairs and defense to complete the approval process with the Syrian government, while Damascus has never voiced his positions on the document and did not report any details.

At the same time, the lack of official statements from the Syrian authorities does not mean that the country’s leadership does not take part in the efforts to expand Russia’s military presence in the Mediterranean, although it seems the role of the regime is limited to participation in Russian events. This is evidenced by the symbolic presence of the Syrian army in military parades in Hamima, and the participation of two Syrian missile boats in the parade on the occasion of the Day of the Navy of Russia.