Iran’s leading independent news agency, the Fars News Agency (FNA) reported that the quartet of Russia, Iran, Syria, and China are planning a joint military exercise in the Mediterranean coast of Syria.According to the FNA, the military exercise will be the largest of its kind ever conducted in the Middle-Eastern region.
The news agency reported that a total of 90,000 servicemen will take part in the war games from all the four participating nations. In addition to the troops, a total of 400 aircraft and more than 1,000 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) are also likely to take part in the exercises. According to the report, several nuclear submarines will be taking part on behalf of the Russian Navy, in addition to frigates, aircraft carriers, mine destroyers and other naval vessels.
The report also claims that the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) is likely to send in several of its warships, plus a number of its submarines. Iran is currently in the possession of several of the Russian Kilo-class submarines, in addition to a number of locally built subs, like the Qaaem Class and the Fateh Class. The IRIN also possesses 4 Yugo class submarines, built by the North Korean shipbuilders.
China will be sending a total of 12 warships for the drills, all belonging to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Egyptian authorities have already issued permission for the Chinese vessels to move through the Suez Canal. It is still not clear which are the vessels that will take part in the drills from the Syrian side.
Meanwhile Bouthaina Shaabana, senior Syrian government official denied that Syria is planning military exercises with other nations. He rubbished the reports by the Iranian agency, saying that such reports are entirely fabricated and are completely baseless.
A few days ago, reports had emerged that the Russian arms export agency, the Rosoboronexport is supplying Syria with advanced Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM) and military helicopters. Western sources are since accusing Russia of ignoring the human rights violations perpetrated in Syria by the Assad regime.