Russia’s naval force in the Mediterranean will begin a tactical drill to test its readiness and practice counterterrorism maneuvers today, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
A group of ten warships is planning to engage in live artillery and missile fire “under simulated battlefield conditions.” The force includes two fast attack guided missile craft, both armed with Kalibr-NK cruise missile complexes equipped with 8 missiles each.
Simultaneously, a group of four attack guided missile craft (each armed with 8 Kalibr-NK cruise missiles) will be deployed in the southwestern part of the Caspian Sea to perform live artillery and missile strikes.
But does Russia plan to conduct just naval drills?
Last month residents of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo rushed for long-awaited supplies of food and essentials as the Russian military opened three humanitarian corridors for civilians and militants who had agreed to lay down their arms.
However, Washington officials expressed doubt about the sincerity of the Russia’s humanitarian operation. US Secretary of State John Kerry said that he is still unsure of Moscow’s intent and assumed that the whole operation could be a “ruse.” In the meantime, the US embassy in Syria has even suggested that Russia is using the humanitarian operation as a means to force the residents of Aleppo out of the city, thus abandoning it to government forces.
So, at the same time, the vessels armed with Kalibr-NK cruise missile will be coincidentally close enough to Syrian borders during Russian naval drills and capable to hit all their targets. It seems the Kremlin organized the humanitarian corridors to not only help Syrian citizens to leave Aleppo but destroy terrorist forces who still fight against Assad’s regime and kill civilians.
Meanwhile, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State fighters continue to disrupt peace effort and carry on their attacks on government-controlled neighborhoods of Aleppo using makeshift artillery and mortars. Moreover, on August 5, al-Nusra and IS terrorists captured and executed three civilians who tried to flee a rebel-controlled area of Aleppo via a humanitarian corridor.
Look at the previous Russia’s naval attacks against terrorist forces:
On October 7, 2015, four Russian Navy warships in the Caspian Sea fired a total of 26 missiles at positions in Syria held by the Islamic State terrorist group. The missiles flew some 1,500 kilometers, changing route several times, and eliminated 11 targets.
On November 20, warships of Russia’s Caspian Fleet launched 18 cruise missiles at seven targets in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa, Idlib, and Aleppo. All of the targets were successfully hit.
On December 8, the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine Rostov-on-Don launched 3M-54 Kalibr missiles from the Mediterranean that successfully eliminated two targets in Syria.
Thus, these naval drills are going to be an excellent opportunity for the Kremlin to destroy and scour the terrorist forces from Aleppo.