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Russia Defies The Odds Off Syria
by James Dunnigan
October 12, 2013

In the eastern Mediterranean, the number of warships off the Syrian coast has been increasing. For example, on September 17th, Russia had two destroyers, a frigate, and three amphibious ships (there to evacuate civilians). There are also several support ships, including an electronic surveillance vessel, a tug, a repair ship, and a tanker. The Russians have been maintaining a force this size off Syria for most of this year and relieves ships after a few months with ships from various parts of their fleet (Black Sea, Baltic, far north). Technically, the ships are there to rescue Russian citizens if the rebels overrun most of the country. In fact, the ships are also there to try and intimidate the more numerous foreign warships in the area, in case the West decides to intervene in favor of the rebels. That probably won’t work when you consider the array of ships the Russians and Syrians would be facing. The U.S. force consists of four destroyers and a supply ship. The Germans have two missile patrol boats and an electronic surveillance vessel. Britain has a destroyer and an amphibious ship. France has a frigate, Italy a destroyer, Indonesia a corvette, and Greece a missile patrol boat. Syria has two elderly frigates and about thirty missile patrol boats. Israel has a larger force of more modern ships, as does Turkey. Greece is also very close with dozens of modern ships and patrol boats. The Turks, Israeli, Greeks, and the U.S. can put a lot of warplanes into the air over the eastern Mediterranean.

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