In what some are calling yet another diplomatic thumb directly in the eye of Barack Obama, Iranian special forces have reportedly landed in Syria to join with the relative handful of Russian Naval Infantry already in-country to aid the regime’s strongman retain power. As reported by Mark Rivett-Carnac of the Reuters news service via Time magazine, and also by Johnlee Varghese of the International Business Times (IBT) India edition, both on Sept. 11, 2015, a mixed force of approximately 1,000 Iranian Marines and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps are within a figurative stone’s throw from the roughly 100 Russian Naval Infantry (Marines) who recently touched down in the war-torn nation.
On the heels of the Russian Foreign Ministry confirming the presence of “military experts” in Syria, Reuters cited anonymous Lebanese sources who all claim the Russians are actually on the ground to assist the government of President Bashir al-Assad maintain is more than slightly shaky grip on power. But in the communiqué from Moscow’s Foreign Minister, the Russians are simply in Syria to oversee the deliveries of new weapons systems to aid Assad in the “fight against terrorism.”
IBT notes the Iranian troops have “hooked-up” with the “just arrived” Russian forces in Jablah, a base built by the Russians outside the sea-side town of Latakia. While a mere 100 Russian Marines were initially reported earlier this week of boots on the ground in Syria to protect Russian transport aircraft unloading military equipment, Varghese is now reporting today that many more are soon on their way.
As reported, Russia will be deploying advanced S-300 air defense missile systems at the Jablah base. Follow-on troops from the Russian Marine Brigades 810 and 336 will be assigned to the base. Withe the likes of ISIS and the al-Qaeda allied al-Nusra terrorist army to the immediate east, Moscow doesn’t appear to be taking any chances with their ground combat troops or their Iranian allies being overrun by the tens of thousands of armed terrorists not even a day’s march from the Russian bases in the coastal towns of Jablah and Tatrus.
Russian MiG-31 long-range strategic attack fighter craft are currently stationed at the Mezza Syrian Air Force base at Damascus to reportedly provide air support to the combined Russian-Iranian forces if and when needed. with a low altitude speed of Mach 1.2 (930 mph), flight time from Mezza to the Russian coastal bases is literally just a few minutes.
Also flexing their naval muscle, the size of a World War One battleship, the massive Russian nuclear submarine, the Dmitri Donskoy (TK-20), is also steaming just off shore as a show of force to the various Syrian rebels militias, Islamic State (Isis), and al-Nusra. While none of the insurgent groups have a navy for the Donskoy to take on, their military facilities and troop concentrations would be the figurative easy pickings for the sub’s RPK-2 Viyuga cruise missiles.