Last weekend, a number of Russian Marines – along with a large stockpile of heavy weaponry – arrived at the Syrian port-city of Tartous after a joint military agreement was adopted by the Russian Federation and the Syrian Government.
The Russian Marines were given the task to train and advise the new recruits from the civilian-led “National Defense Forces” (NDF) in order to bolster the aforementioned militia’s fighting prowess and flexibility on the battlefield.
According to a senior officer from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Russian Marines were deployed to three provinces (Latakia, Tartous, and Homs) and introduced to the commanding officers of the NDF contingents they are training and advising.
As the Russian Marines dispersed to their designated locations along the Syrian coast, they would await the arrival of their heavy armory and advanced assault rifles in order to begin the much anticipated military exercises with the National Defense Forces.
Their equipment arrived on Wednesday and their large scale military exercises with the National Defense Forces were set to begin on Thursday; this date was originally tentative due to the expected delays at the Turkish border.
The military exercises began inside the cities of Slunfeh (east Latakia) and Rif Safeeta (Tartous’ eastern countryside), where Russian Marines demonstrated how to use the Russian weapons, while amalgamating their fighting formations for the new recruits.
While, it may appear that the Russians are preparing to conduct military operations in Syria, the senior officer from the SAA quickly dismissed this allegation, stating that there are not enough Russian Marines to even consider the option.