On Saturday, a flotilla of Russian warships arrived off the coast of Syria. The flotilla was reportedly deployed to prepare for a large-scale land and sea assault on the ravaged city of Aleppo.
The flotilla is eight ships strong and led by Moscow’s only aircraft carrier. It is also being accompanied by a nuclear-powered missile cruiser. According to the Syrian website al-Masdar News, which the Telegraph advises is a pro-government source, the battle group is to be deployed to the region for at least six months.
Although NATO officials have said such a deployment by Russia is intended to demonstrate Moscow’s military might, the truth is that Russia is pressing on with its military operations in Syria whether or not the rest of the world is paying attention.
On Tuesday of this week, Russia put its aircraft carrier to full use and launched a large-scale offensive across Syria. The attacks came only hours after Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump had shared their first phone call since the president-elect’s victory. Russia’s move is arguably signaling a future of renewed American-Russian relations.
As acknowledged by the Telegraph:
“Analysts have long warned that Russia was likely to take Mr Trump’s election victory as a green light to ramp up its bombing campaign in Syria, knowing that a more sympathetic US president will replace Barack Obama in January.”
Russia said the attacks were aimed at ISIS and al-Nusra strongholds, two designated terror groups in the Idlib and Homs provinces.
The Telegraph also noted that three hospitals had been bombed in opposition-controlled parts of Aleppo this week, alone.
The good news is that recent developments may entail that Russia and the United States may avert a nuclear catastrophe. The bad news is that the civilians trapped in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria continue to be regarded as nothing more than pawns on a political chessboard.