Russia has announced plans for deploying an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the Mediterranean, amid the escalating Western war rhetoric against Syria. “The well-known situation shaping up in the eastern Mediterranean called for certain corrections to the make-up of the naval forces,” an unnamed source in the Russian General Staff was quoted by Russian news agency Interfax as saying on Thursday.
“A large anti-submarine ship of the Northern Fleet will join them (the existing Russian naval forces) over the next few days. Later it will be joined by the Moskva, a rocket cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet,” the source added.Moscow is strongly opposed to any military strike on Syria, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believing that the move will critically destabilize the region. Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying that “Declared plans by some states to inflict a military strike on Syria are an undisguised challenge to the key provisions of the UN Charter and other norms of international law.” The war rhetoric against Syria gained momentum after the militants operating inside the country and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition claimed on August 21 that hundreds had been killed in a government chemical attack on militant strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar. Damascus has categorically rejected the allegations. Since August 27, speculations became stronger about the possibility of a military attack on Syria. Media outlets reported US plans for likely surgical attacks, which would be in the form of “cruise-missile strikes,” and “could rely on four US destroyers in the Mediterranean [Sea].” The plan was said to be awaiting US President Barack Obama’s go-ahead. Iran, Russia and China, among other countries, have warned against foreign military intervention in Syria. Meanwhile, reports say Britain has deployed six Typhoon jets to its Akrotiri base in Cyprus. MR/HSN/HJL