A snapshot of the Russian Navy escorting Iranian shipping from the Suez Canal to Syria.
Back in April there was uncorroborated information circulated on social media, announcing that Russia was to protect the Iranian ships — in particular the tankers carrying vital oil supplies to Syria. Yet, it wasn't readily known whether this would be a regular mission for the Russian Navy. For a while now, tankers and cargo ships heading to Syria would go “dark” on AIS after transiting the Suez Canal. Hardly any Russian warship regularly uses AIS, so any information on escorts is sketchy to say the least.
The following article provides some details on an escort carried out by the Russian Nav back in October 2020. Very little information is available on other escorts undertaken since then, until now. This is how the escort was framed by the UK tabloid newspaper, the Daily Express: with its lurid far-fetched clickbait headline, — WW3 stuff, hardly.
The reality is more mundane, with all likelihood elements of NATO SNMG2 keeping tabs on both the Russian Navy in the region and also Iranian shipping, but it is Israel that has more at stake in this matter, (more on this later). The UK sent a patrol ship to the region recently as part of the NATO 'Operation Sea Guardian'. HMS Trent was last in Cyprus after having been off the coast of Port Said and also and the Levant coast too. Add this, NATO SNMG2 ships were in the Syrian channel (between Cyprus and the Levant).( Collapse )