DEBKAfile March 30, 2016, 10:23 AM (IDT)
Analysis of the movements of warships and cargo ships from Russia to Syria reveals that Moscow is increasing the pace of its support for the Syrian regime, despite President Vladimir Putin's March 14 announcement that the Russian military would reduce its presence in the Middle East. Internet site marinetraffic.com said that the Yauza, a Russian military transport and icebreaking ship that left Syria in the first week of March, left its home port of Novorossiysk in the Black Sea and is headed back to the Russian naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus. The ship is sailing at a very low speed, indicating that it is carrying heavy equipment, with a Turkish research body reporting that the Yauza is not even leaving a trail in the ocean. Up to 12 Russian military ships are currently sailing in the Mediterranean including oil tankers, patrol ships and the Zeleniy Dol destroyer armed with Kalibr cruise missiles.