Russian and Syrian naval forces are holding their first-ever joint military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea with the aim of boosting cooperation in the counter-terrorism battle.
The drills, which began on Tuesday, will involve Russian surface ships and aircraft from the Hmeimim air base in Syria’s Latakia Province as well as Syrian Navy missile boats and mine warfare vessels, Russian media reported, without specifying the duration.
Over 2,000 Russian and Syrian troops and around 10 vessels and boats will take part in the maneuvers, according to the reports.
Rear Admiral Alexander Yuldashev, who commands the military exercises, said the war games will involve various tactical episodes.
“Tactical groups of ships of the Russian Navy and the SAR [Syrian Arab Republic] Navy at sea are … conducting joint maneuvers. On the shore, security and defense units will work out issues of combating unmanned aerial vehicles, … illegal armed groups, and … localizing and eliminating the consequences of using weapons against facilities in the port of Tartus,” he said.
Yuldashev further noted that the drills are aimed at developing cooperation between the Russian and Syrian forces in their fight against international terrorism.
Since 2015, the Russian military has been helping the Syrian army on the battleground against a myriad of terror groups fighting to topple the Damascus government.
As part of its anti-terrorism mission, Moscow has deployed warships to Syria’s Tartus naval base and fighter jets at the Hmeimim air base.
On the back of Russian assistance, Damascus has managed to regain almost all of the Syrian territories the militant groups had captured in 2011.
-Syrian naval forces