Ten Russian warships have been deployed at the Syrian port of Tartus based on an accord reached by the two sides after the August south Caucases conflict.
Rear Admiral Andrei Baranov, head of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's operations directorate, said Friday the Russian engineering crew was at Tartus to expand the capacity of the harbor to host additional fleet vessels.
The teams will also be working on expanding Latakia, another Syrian port, possibly for aircraft carriers or guided missile cruisers, said Baranov.
On Sept. 12, nearly one month after the south Caucases conflict broke out, Russia and Syria reached an agreement that would provide Moscow with a long-term base rights at Syrian ports.
DEBKAfile's military sources reported that Israeli military leaders were stunned at the news of the Russian fleet being deployed near Israeli shores.