Russia’s navy chief Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov told reporters on Thursday that there are ten Russian warships in the eastern Mediterranean dispatched solely for war games and that their presence in the area is not related to the Syrian crisis.
Russia earlier said it will not allow Libya-style military intervention in Syria, which largely was carried by the extensive help of warships and aircraft carriers of NATO-member states in the Mediterranean.
Fleet of the Russian battleships off Syrian coast is one of the largest in the past few decades and definitely poses a danger to the security of Turkey, NATO’s only Muslim member. But there is little concern for a major power face-off in the region as American warships are expected to arrive in the eastern Mediterranean months earlier than previously expected amid escalating tensions in the region.
Currently, USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier is docked off the Turkey’s Mediterranean city of Antalya. Turkish, French and British warships also separately conducted military drills in the area. There is little evidence that Russian naval forces in eastern Mediterranean will be Turkey's headache due to growing American and Turkish naval power in the region. But the fragile situation there, no doubt, makes it almost impossible for Western powers, including NATO, to conduct a possible successful military operation against Syria in the near future.
I wrote about this and other developments in the eastern Mediterranean here.