Syrian war: Russia builds up forces in Syria - Reuters

09:49 Oct. 8, 2016

Russia builds up forces in Syria - Reuters

Russian long range bomber Tu-22M3 flies during a strike above an undisclosed location in Syria on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016 (AP Photo)

It appears to be Moscow's biggest military deployment to Syria since March

Russia has built up its forces in Syria since a ceasefire collapsed in late September, sending in troops, planes and advanced missile systems, a Reuters analysis of publicly available tracking data shows.

Read also: Kerry says Putin-Assad deeds should be investigated as war crimes

The data points to a doubling of supply runs by air and sea compared to the nearly two-week period preceding the truce. It appears to be Russia's biggest military deployment to Syria since President Vladimir Putin said in March he would pull out some of his country's forces.

Russia's Defence Ministry did not respond to written questions. A senior air force official, speaking on condition of anonymity, dismissed talk of an increase in supply shipments.

Read also: European Parliament urge Russia and Assad regime to stop shelling civilians

But data collated by Turkish bloggers for their online Bosphorus Naval News project, and reviewed by Reuters, shows reinforcements sent via Russia's "Syrian Express" shipping route from the Black Sea increased throughout September and have peaked in the last week.

The data shows 10 Russian navy ships have gone through the Bosphorus en route to Syria since late September, compared with five in the 13-day period before the truce - from August 27 to September 7.

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