Photo: Southern Military District Press Service
Russian Navy's destroyer Smetlivy on Oct 20 passed the Dardanelles Strait being escorted by Turkish naval boat, report Turkish media.
The destroyer was on patrol off Syria in March-April 2012, reports MIGnews.com.
Smetlivy entered the Aegean Sea. The Turks suppose the ship is heading for Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria.
Black Sea Fleet (BSF) floating workshop PM-56 left Sevastopol on Oct 20 and set a course for the Mediterranean Sea to reach the port of Tartus.
The Russian Navy's 720-th Technical Maintenance Base was established in Syrian port Tartus in 1977 in accordance with the Soviet-Syrian agreement tied in 1971. Presently, it is the last Russian military station beyond the territory of the former USSR. It consists of two mooring floats, a couple of depots, barracks, and several buildings.
One of BSF floating workshops is stationed in Tartus on the 6-month long rotational basis. Personnel strength of the base does not exceed 50 mariners.
Relations between Russia and Turkey aggravated on Oct 10 when Turkish authorities forced to landing an airplane with 35 passengers flying from Moscow to Damascus due to suspected transportation of military cargo. Ankara referred to information from own intelligence. After hours of onboard search, the airplane was allowed to continue flight. The cargo was confiscated.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the special services had found Russian military equipment and ammunitions onboard the airplane. As for him, the cargo was meant for Syrian defense ministry, and the forwarder was one of Russian arms-manufacturing companies. In total, 10 cargo containers were confiscated from the plane, said the Turkish premier. Later on, the press reported about 12 containers.
According to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, onboard the Syrian Airlines plane there was a cargo "forwarded by legal Russian supplier to legal Syrian orderer by legal way".
Afterwards, Turkish authorities confirmed legality of the cargo but had some complaints to its registration.