17:08 Nov. 9, 2016
Russian media announced ‘death fleet' attack on Aleppo, but now it complains of ‘NATO subs'
The regime forces had taken a strategic district of Aleppo on Tuesday after fierce clashes with rebels, which can be counted as the most important advance during the latest battle, as Russia threatened to launch "large-scale" cruise missile and airstrikes on the city, Middle East Observer reports.
On Friday 29 October the rebel forces started a new military operation to break the siege imposed on 275.000 civilians in eastern Aleppo, employing heavy shelling and suicide car bombs, was mainly focused on the city's western edge by rebels based in the countryside outside Aleppo.
The offensive was effective in its first three days and the rebels were able to advance against Assad regime forces and allied militias. However, the offensive was hindered after its fourth day. The rebels weren't able to advance and faces counter attacks by regime forces.
Russia's defence ministry announced that on Wednesday 2 November a new humanitarian pause and said that six exit routes will be open on Friday for ten hours, from 9am to 7pm, to allow civilians in eastern Aleppo to leave, along with two new exit routes for the fighters to withdraw from the area.
However, the duration ended without any civilians being evacuated and with no rebels surrendering.
There were speculations about Russia's next move, but they ended on Tuesday as Russia's Defence Ministry said they will attack the rebels. Jets from Russia's flagship aircraft carrier will launch airstrikes from the eastern Mediterranean around the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo within hours, Russia's Defence Ministry said Tuesday.
The strikes, predicted in the 24 hours from Tuesday morning, would be targeted at the outskirts of the city where rebel groups have been seeking to break the Assad regime's siege of opposition-held eastern districts. They would involve cruise missiles, carrier-based and land-based warplanes, the reports said.
But today instead of bombardments Russian ‘death fleet' reported that they were tracked by ‘NATO submarines', so battlegroup ‘had chased away a Dutch submarine which had been dangerously maneuvering nearby,' Interfax reports. Russian officials say, it was "diesel-electric submarine of Netherlands Navy (presumably ‘Walrus'"). This is rather strange claim, because according to open sources the Walrus-class submarine is the only submarine class currently in operation in the Royal Netherlands Navy.
Russian MoD also reported US Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine ‘tried to track' the battlegroup, but didn't claim they chased it.
Moscow has assembled a sizeable battle group in the Mediterranean, including its only aircraft carrier and attack submarines, with aim to support its air campaign in Syria against anti-Assad opposition. Offiziere.ch published detailed infographics on the composition of Russian battlegroup and its journey (click to enlarge).