Russia sends two warships back to Med as Syria tensions rise


Moscow (AFP)

Russia on Wednesday said two of its warships were heading back to join its forces in the Mediterranean amid an upsurge in tensions with Washington over Syria.

The announcement comes a day after Moscow said it had dispatched its S-300 air defence missile system to its naval facility at Tartus in Syria.

The two Buyan-class corvettes -- the Zelyony Dol and Serpukhov -- returned to the Mediterranean after an earlier deployment off the coast of Syria that saw them carry out missile strikes on targets in the war-ravaged country on August 19.

A spokesman for Russia's Black Sea Fleet told Russian news agencies that the ships left their home port in Crimea on Tuesday as part of a "planned rotation" of Moscow's naval forces in the region.

Russia said last month that it will also send its only aircraft carrier to the region as it looks to bolster support for its bombing campaign in Syria.

The latest moves come as talks on reviving a failed ceasefire were suspended by Washington over Moscow's support of the regime in Damascus.

Moscow has been accused of indiscriminately bombing Aleppo's opposition-controlled east as it helps an offensive currently being conducted by Syrian regime forces to capture all of the country's second city.