Washington-led NATO heads closer to full-scale intervention. The new year promises more bloodshed.
On January 6, Press TV headlined "Russian warships gathering off Syria waters to deter West: Report."
The Sunday Times was cited. It said Russia sent sent five landing ships. On board are military vehicles, hundreds of marines, and combat vessels.
"Russia should be prepared for any developments as it believes the situation in Syria might reach its peak before Easter," it said. An unnamed diplomatic source was quoted.
He added that Russia intends to deter "the West from deploying ground forces." Moscow says its ships are to "improve the management, maintenance, and testing of the interaction of naval forces."
Another Russian warship carrying marines heads for Tartus. Moscow maintains its only Mediterranean base in the Syrian port city.
On December 29, two other warships, the Azov and Nikolai Filchenkov, were deployed. They'll arrive in Syrian waters shortly.
"In mid-December, Russia's Defense Ministry announced that a fleet of Russian warships had been sent from the Baltic port of Baltiysk to the Mediterranean Sea near the Syrian waters."
"Syria, Russia and Iran say" deploying offensive Patriot missiles near Syria's border "could spark an eventual military action by NATO."