Another Sortie of the “Syria Express”

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3/16/2015

Another Sortie of the “Syria Express”

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

The Large Assault Landing Ships Novocherkassk (Black Sea
Fleet) and Aleksandr Shabalin (Baltic Fleet) began a combat mission in the
Mediterranean. They relieved Aleksandr Otrakovskiy (Northern fleet) and Azov
(Black Sea Fleet) which passed through the Bosphorus leaving the Mediterranean.

J.Hawk’s Comment: The rest of the article contains a listing
of Russian Assault Landing Ships (BDK) which performed missions in the
Mediterranean in 2013 and 2014. In 2014 alone there were 47 BDK sorties into
the Mediterranean, or nearly one per week! Why such a level of activity by
these particular types of ships? These ships represent an important
military-technical lifeline for the government of Syria, a major factor that has
enabled the government to withstand the pressure by ISIS and all manner of
other “opposition” movements. Syria has very limited defense industry, it is
not capable of building or even maintaining major weapon systems on its own.
The BDKs, being Russian Navy warships capable of transporting major cargoes,
are immune to naval blockades or any “well meaning” searches and seizures at
high seas. It would be difficult to imagine ISIS being kept at bay as
effectively, and for so long, by the Syrian government if it weren’t for
Russian aid.

It’s a reminder that Ukraine is only part of a much bigger
game. Even though Ukraine tends to consume all the attention, being a European
country and all that,  one has to keep in
mind that the scenario unfolding in Ukraine and Syria was essentially the same.
The “White Tiger” has come out of hiding, this time in the garb of an ISIS militant or a
Bandera supporter. How many other disguises will it turn out to have?

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