Russia performs naval operations along Syrian coast

21 January 2016 (Last Updated January 21st, 2016 18:30)

Russia is carrying out naval operatons along Syria's coast, as part of its ongoing military campaign in support of President Assad.

Varyag

Russia is carrying out naval operatons along Syria's coast, as part of its ongoing military campaign in support of President Assad.

The country has invited 50 foreign journalists from the US, the UK, France, Norway, Armenia, Belarus, and Syria, to visit the Hmeymim airbase in the Latakia province on Wednesday.

This comes before the planned peace talks with the Syrian Government next week in Geneva.

"The reporters were invited on-board the Vice Admiral Kulakov destroyer, which sailed parallel to the Varyag missile cruiser."

Russia has launched more than 5,700 missions flying warplanes to support Syrian Government troops since Russia began its campaign against the rebels in September.

The country also operates a naval facility in the port of the city of Tartus in Syria.

The reporters were invited on-board the Vice-Admiral Kulakov destroyer, which sailed parallel to the Varyag missile cruiser, flagship of the Russian naval fleet, the Associated Press reported.

Varyag set out from its Pacific port, while the destroyer Kulakov sailed from the Russian base of Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula.

Varyag is equipped with long-range Fort air anti-ship missiles, and Kulakov includes in its artillery anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes and anti-aircraft weapons. Iits main purpose is to track down enemy submarines.

Russia has claimed it is also undertaking humanitarian missions to Syria, in addition to aerial strikes.


Image: Missile cruiser Varyag in Vladivostok. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.