World Bulletin / News Desk
The movements of several Russian ships in the two weeks since Putin's announcement of a partial withdrawal from Syria suggest Moscow has shipped more equipment and supplies to Syria than it has brought back in the same period, Reuters reported Wednesday.
It is not known what the ships were carrying or how much equipment has been flown out in giant cargo planes accompanying returning war planes.
But the movements - while only a partial snapshot - suggest Russia is working intensely to maintain its military infrastructure in Syria and to supply the Syrian army so that it can scale up again swiftly if need be.
When Putin first announced the withdrawal of most of Russia's military contingent from Syria, there was an expectation that the Yauza, a Russian naval icebreaker and one of the mission's main supply vessels, would return home to its Arctic Ocean port.
Instead, three days after Putin's March 14 declaration, the Yauza, part of the "Syrian Express", the nickname given to the ships that have kept Russian forces supplied, left the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk for Tartous, Russia's naval facility in Syria.
Whatever it was carrying was heavy; it sat so low in the water that its load line was barely visible.
Putin has not detailed what would prompt such a move, but any perceived threat to Russia's bases in Syria or any sign that President Bashar Assad, Moscow's closest Middle East ally, was in peril would be likely to trigger a powerful return.
In total, five cargo ships, including an oil tanker, arrived in Syria in the two weeks following Putin's announcement.Last Mod: 30 Mart 2016, 11:50