Russia’s defense chief arrives in Syria to review naval drills

Russia’s defense chief arrives in Syria to review naval drills

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to Syria to inspect naval drills involving 15 warships and 30 aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean on Tuesday, the RIA news agency cited his ministry as saying.
The drills are part of a surge of Russian military activity amid a standoff with the West over security in Europe. Russia said earlier it had deployed fighter jets with hypersonic missiles to its Syrian air base for the naval exercises.
Moscow announced on Jan. 20 that its navy would stage an array of exercises involving all its fleets from the Pacific to the Atlantic, drawing on 10,000 servicemen, 140 warships and dozens of planes.
Meanwhile, a bomb attached to a bus carrying Syrian troops in Damascus exploded on Tuesday morning, killing one soldier and wounding 11, state TV reported.
The blast occurred during rush hour at a customs roundabout near the capital’s landmark Omayyad Square, according to the report. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Such attacks have occurred in Damascus in recent months amid an otherwise calm period in the capital. Regime forces captured rebel-held eastern neighborhoods of the city in 2018.
Regime forces now control much of Syria with the help of President Bashar Assad’s allies Russia and Iran, while rebels are mostly cornered in the country’s northwestern province of Idlib. US and Turkish troops, meanwhile, are deployed in parts of the country’s north and east.
In October, two bombs attached to a bus carrying Syrian troops exploded in Damascus, killing 14. It was one of the deadliest bombings in the capital in years.
A little-known group calling itself the Qasioun Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack at the time.
In recent years, attacks in Damascus have been rare. One of the last major explosions to take place was in 2017 — when bombers hit a judicial office building and a restaurant, killing nearly 60 people.

Source: arabnews

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