There was much surprise in geopolitical circles several weeks ago when, completely out of the blue, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced he would begin withdrawing military forces from Syria at once, a move hailed by some as confirmation Russia had failed to achieve its goals in the civil war-ridden nation which serves as a hotbed of ISIS terrorist attacks around the globe, and by others as victory.
Both camps may have been wrong. According to a Reuters, while the Kremlin announced one thing to the international community behind the scenes it has been doing more of the same: sending even more forces, arms and supplies to Syria.
As Reuters explains “when Vladimir Putin 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.”
Then again, NATO said would never expand towards Russia (circa 1990), yet 26 years later, it has completely surrounded Russia. The Russian simply have zero trust in NATO and are preparing themselves accordingly.
According to the Russian military website military-informant.com an Iskander SS-26 Stone short-range ballistic missile complex which has a range of 400 km and is nuclear-capable, was spotted on March 27 near the Hmeymim airbase used by Russia for its airborne attacks.
According to the website, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation conducted a redeployment of missiles of unknown type at its Hmeymim air base in Syria. It adds that during a night-time arrival of two military transport aircraft at the Russian air base, under conditions of high secrecy made military equipment was unloaded.
The launch complex was subsequently spotted in the background of a Russian armed forces video clip published on March 27, and shown above.
If confirmed, it begs the question: how will the US and Turkey react once it becomes clear that Putin has added nuclear-capable ballistic component to the Russian arsenal in Syria?
Keep in mind for decades now, Turkey has been housing US nukes.