Throughout the conflict between the Syrian government and opposition forces, the Russians have supported Bashar al-Assad’s government. To that end, they’ve sent weaponry and warships to bolster President Bashar al-Assad’s efforts, and they’ve stood against U.N. sanctions that could weaken Assad’s hold on power.
But now, it’s being reported that Russia may be going a step further by sending “360 marines and amphibious armed personnel carriers” to Syria for Assad’s support.
Russia has reported that the military forces are simply accompanying supply ships traveling to Tartus, a Russian naval base in Syria. The problem is that similar explanations were given when Russia began sending helicopters and other military equipment to Assad months ago.
The LA Times, which is carrying the report, makes it clear that no one knows whether the marines will travel back to Russia once supplies have been delivered to Tartus. It is possible that they could remain in Syria to aid Assad or to help Russians quickly evacuate the country should Assad step down.