Russia Reportedly Sending Reinforcements To Naval Base In Syria

Two Russian naval vessels with marines on board are heading to the Syrian port of Tartus where Moscow maintains a naval presence. The news of Russia reinforcing its military presence in Syria, as reported by the Russian Interfax news agency on Monday, would introduce an unpredictable new element into the 16-month-old Syrian crisis during which Russia has been the staunchest ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow is Syria’s biggest arms supplier and the Kremlin’s ties to Assad serve as Russia’s primary foothold in Middle East diplomacy and regional politics. Interfax quotes an anonymous Russian official as saying the ships are “ready to ensure security of Russian citizens and infrastructure of the Russian Navy logistics base” in Tartus.