This past weekend, a large number of Russian Marines landed on the shores of Tartous in preparation for Russia’s increased participation in the four and a half year long Syrian Conflict.
Much speculation has surrounded Russia’s recent proliferation of arms and servicemen in Syria; however, both the Syrian and Russian Governments denied all of these allegations up until now, as the latest images of the Russian Naval Infantry proved difficult to refute.
Upon their arrival in Tartous, the Russian Marines were introduced to officers from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG), who escorted the Marines to a number of NDF (National Defense Forces) camps.
Part of the Syrian-Russo political agreement is to train the recent recruits from the civilian-led National Defense Forces and to teach them to operate the new military equipment that arrived with the Russian Naval Infantry on Friday morning.
According to a military source, the Russian Marines have been spread out along Syria’s western countryside, with the majority of the soldiers being stationed at the mountainous city of Slunfeh in east Latakia – the remaining soldiers have been moved to the Homs (Wadi Al-Nasara) and Tartous (Masyaf and Safita) Governorates.
The source further added that the number of Russian Marines in Syria is between 700-800 soldiers; this includes the 40 Marines that arrived over the weekend.
Allegations from the Syrian Opposition that the Russian Marines are participating in battles and manning checkpoints have all been denied by Syrian Army personnel – these soldiers are merely used for training and advising purposes.