Russia has sent more than a dozen war ships to patrol the waters near Syria, U.S. military spokesmen said on Friday.
The country also gave Syria supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, model P-800 Onika, United Press International reported. The message: Moscow is fully supportive of Syrian President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials believe.
Still, other U.S. officials are saying the missiles are actually headed to Hezbollah in Lebanon — realizing Israel’s greatest concern. More airstrikes from Israel could be on the way, military analysts say in the UPI report.
The high-tech missiles are upgraded versions of the Yakhont missiles that Russia has previously given Syria, UPI said.
The difference is the new ones have technologically advanced radar — and are more effective at hitting their targets. The upgraded missiles travel twice the speed of sound and are equipped with armor-piercing warheads, UPI said.
They have a range of about 180 miles, UPI reported.