June 5th, 2013
07:47 PM ET

Pentagon official: Russian warships may be carrying weapons to Syria

By Barbara Starr

CNN has learned that U.S. intelligence agencies have identified three Russian amphibious warships in the eastern Mediterranean that are believed to be carrying weapons shipments that might be used to resupply the Syrian regime, according to a Pentagon official.

The official declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the information.

The United States has been tracking the ships since they left Russian ports several days ago. U.S. satellites were able to see some indications of containers being loaded onto the ships. Although it's not confirmed, it's believed the ships may be carrying some components of the controversial Russian S-300 air defense missile system and other weapons for the regime.

The United States has been pressing the Russians for weeks to not deliver that system to Syria because of the threat it would pose by upgrading Syria's already robust air defense system. The United States believes it would give the Syrian government a much greater ability to target U.S., Israeli, NATO or other aircraft that may try to strike targets on the ground in the future.

The official said the United States did not see any military helicopters being loaded; it is believed the Syrians want to add the helicopters to their inventories.

The Russians have kept a regular naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean so they can move in and out of the port of Tartous, where they have facilities.

Several sensitive military assets are in the region this month as well. In the next two weeks, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower will also be in the region on a scheduled rotation as it returns to its home port on the East Coast. A U.S. Patriot missile battery and F-16s are heading to Jordan for a training exercise, though the Jordanians have asked for the Patriots to remain after the exercise concludes at the end of the month.

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. California

    Doesn't the administration have the phone and internet records of all the people in Russia along with CCard info?

    June 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  2. amazonrun

    So? is there a monopoly on sending weapons by The Gulf countries an NATO to the rebels only?
    Same goes for foreign fighters, only NATO, Al Qaeda and Arab gulf monarchies can join the fight against Syrian government?

    June 8, 2013 at 12:15 am | Reply
  3. llllllllll

    Nuke them!

    June 7, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      Another senseless comment from another mindless Tea Partier! Then again, such is to be expected from people like these!!!

      June 8, 2013 at 7:13 am | Reply
  4. giggig

    Qusair . How is this? A Hoax ? These ruins were like this long ago. Assad / Hizbollh fooled us, there was no rebellion in that 30000 ghost city, it was them staging or western cameras a fight.A fight that did not really happen then and there.And the lie about "enforcements have arrived" You know , in a siege , beleaguered city , 500 severly injured ...No way , they were just playing us , playing McCain.Set up a trap for American Assistance.Truth will come out some day.

    June 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  5. macromicrocosm

    The US (and allies) are arming the rebels who include many jihadists/al-Qaeda – in other words fighters who if they win will then return to being sworn enemies of the US and allies.
    It is double standards plain and simple.
    The US (and allies) define who is a "freedom fighter" worthy of support and who is an evil villain worthy of being taken out.
    But they should be careful how hard they push this time around.
    Russia, Syria, Iran...Will only take so much before they push back.
    Is pushing this US Elite agenda worth starting WW3 over?
    Let's hope they don't think so!

    June 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • Infantry08

      Can't the same be said for Russia, Iran and Assad? It is their elite agenda that keeps Assad in power. Iran is intrested in there assets as is Russia. Lets not forget that what ever this cival war has become it started out as an out cry from the syrian people for more freedom from opression. So that being the case Isn't Russia and Iran choosing to push their own elite agenda instead of supporting the innocent people trapped in between? If we are going to point fingers it can be passed all the way around no one so far has done the right thing.

      June 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply
      • macromicrocosm

        First of all, after several so-called arab springs in the region, we now know it is na├»ve to say that they each began with some spontaneous secular-based uprising of the masses. The West has had a hand in them, and they are playing with fire, because many of these so-called freedom fighters are extremists looking to make their own moves if there is regime change. I don't support Assad or the rebels, and yes Syria/Iran/Russia have their own agendas, but they are not the ones preemptively invading Iraq, Afghanistan; dropping bombs from drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere; sending in fighter jets to take out various strategic targets inside the fly-zones of neighboring countries. Sure Iran/Hezbollah/Hamas/Russia etc the'll work together against a perceived common enemy. Arms trade, funding, intelligence, sabotage, the odd assassination, etc – but nothing on the scale that the US (and allies) have been carrying out in recent decades. Wake up. The US (and allies) have been systematically stomping through the Middle East. It just so happens that Syria and Iran are in their sights now. You can be certain that they have every intention of carrying out their agenda, and will do what is necessary to accomplish it. What is the US (and allies) foreign agenda? It's complicated! Oil, power, strategic alliances, feeding the war machine, satisfying special interests, one world government (possibly?), and on and on....

        June 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • Infantry08

        I'll tell you this, yes the U.S. like everyone else does have their agendas but please do not take the soap box and talk down to me about Iraq and Afganastan I was there I fought in Iraq AND Afganastan and I'll tell you right know whatever the agenda was that took a back seat with me and my comrades because those people needed help they slaughtered each other by the hundreds and a vast majority of my mission involved providing security for humanitatian aid missions. We provided food and medical care for starving children so many times I lost count. And lets not forget that Iraq and Afganastan was a coillition of forces. I served with British, australian, german, canadian and many more countries troops so they all had a stake in that agenda too or are you willing to say that the entire world is evil and no good can come out of it?

        June 7, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
      • macromicrocosm

        Let me tell you something.
        The best soldier is the one that is healthy, well-trained, with proper benefits and pay, living at home with loved ones.
        ONLY when there is a direct threat to the security of Americans at home should we ask our soldiers to risk their lives.
        Sorry man, but Afghanistan and Iraq had nothing to with humanitarian aid and helping the people. They just used 9/11 to start a whole new war and further their agenda. Trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, untold destruction. For what? Most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis! We knew from the start there was no "winning" in Afghanistan or Iraq. We knew the same internal and external conflicts/tensions/dynamics would be there when we pulled out. We knew it wasn't about spreading Democracy – what Democracy? The US system is crony capitalism at best! What an absolute joke. It was about oil, it was about feeding the war machine, serving special interests, etc. Soldiers are pawns for these guys. You risk your lives to service their greedy agenda, not to protect Americans at home. Wake up man. Sure there's good in the world. And the US can turn itself around. But this is the reality on the ground now. And the sooner people wake up to it, the sooner we might be able to do something about it.

        June 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  6. Infantry08

    I think what everyone is choosing to ignore is that no matter who we aid or support the rebels, or Assad Syria will still support and arm terrorists. For example what is the largest force contributing to Assads push back agaisnt the rebels? Hezbholla. If the rebels win, terrorists take control, if Assad wins his regime still funds and supports terrorism and terrorist cells from Iran period. Either way Russia and the US will be giving aid to the very people they want to stop. That is just the way it's going to be, no gray area no maybe or what if that is the way it is going to be period.

    June 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  7. Taka Kalienov

    I'm siding with Russia on this one. The US creates more problems than they can handle. Let Putin put an end to the Syrian terrorists and restore order to their war-torn country.

    June 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Reply
    • giggig

      Sounds good.Why are they transporting 35-times as many war gears than necessary ?

      June 7, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  8. eli shoemaker

    we shouldn't demonize the citizens of either countries, but the small percent that are making the profits from the wars and are making the decisions to make dollars at the costs of human lives.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  9. 100%American

    Every conflict in the Middle East the United States has been involved in revolves around one thing, the "PetroDollar", it's really the only thing keeping the U.S. economy alive. Inevitably we will either keep all Oil sold only in U.S. dollars, or some other countries will not tolerate this and there will be World War 3.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • giggig

      Oil is denominated in $$ they tried forex so many times ,and what it comes down to = US$ all the times. Once the chinese sit in Jeddah and Kings gone, it will look different. And USA will be deeply challenged to let herself get sucked into War that would be indeed WW#.

      June 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  10. voinaimir

    It's always interesting to observe that psychopaths don't know that they're psychopaths.

    Imagine this headline: "Russia objects to US air defense installations in Canada. Foreign minister Lavrov says: if we should chose to conduct operations over Canada in the future, the presence of modern air defense missiles would be destabilizing to the region."

    June 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      Yes, everyone knows that America and Israel may supply weapons to Al Qaeda (I mean the "Freedom Fighters"), but no-one may support the Syrian Government in protecting itself. Its just common sense isn't it.

      June 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Reply
      • Quigley

        Thank you both, Voinamir and Paul. Very well said!

        June 6, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • John Smith

      America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
      In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
      During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
      In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
      Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Reply
      • JT

        Somalia is a failed state; the US remains the only superpower on the planet.

        June 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • DoTheRightThing

        Korean Air Lines flight 007. KAL007 was shot down by a Soviet fighter jet on September 1, 1983.

        June 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • macromicrocosm

      This game of double standards can continue as long the US remain the global Superpower.
      But this reign is quickly coming to an end.
      Hopefully it will help to re-establish some balance in the world.
      My biggest concern is that the US (and allies) will not allow their momentum to be curbed.
      The US military alone is more powerful than the next several countries combined.
      Even if the US economy falls behind or even crashes, do you think they will allow their military to dwindle and rust away?
      They have been pursuing an aggressive global agenda for several decades and I doubt they will accept a fundamental change of direction.
      Let's hope I'm wrong.
      Who knows what a massive cornered animal is capable of!

      June 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  11. jonny

    let the whole middle east kill each other the saudis iran syria, really dont care about any of them anymore.

    June 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  12. Marine

    This problem in not going to go away. Syria is a high stakes poker game right now, but in all reality this is not about Syria anymore. This is about two superpowers playing games with their allies, our responsibility as a superpower is to end this conflict through superior force. Russia is playing for keeps, and contrary to popular beleif we are still in a cold war. These next few years will determine which superpower is dominate. Its all a mindgame, and beleive me, American soldiers signed up to be what they are......soldiers of America. And anyone who doesnt beleive in that ideal is coward who made a hasty decision.

    June 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      America and Russia have never gone to war. If they did, soldiers won't matter. Nuclear weapons would pass each other in space on the way to destroy both nations.

      Really, Russia is probably on the right side here. All of America's stable allies in the region are dictatorships or monarchies. The "democracies" elect anti-American governments because the Arabs are anti-American... anti-Russian too.

      June 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  13. Bill Lee

    US doesn't like it, US can attack.
    Put up or shut up, US.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  14. Colorado

    This is why we can't get involved in Syria. It would end up as the US against Russia. Haven't we learned this lesson already?

    June 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  15. Bo Sweeney

    i hope Russia has nukes to deliver and point them right at israel and washington!

    June 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Reply
    • jack

      They have far more nukes than we do and are so accurate they can drop them down our own missile silos. In 18 minutes they could reduce the Earth to cinders.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:45 am | Reply
  16. Lancesephyr

    Bravo to the Russians for aiding their ally, Syria. The Russians should give Syria all the weapons that it needs just like the USA supplies its murderous racist apartheid ally, Israhell. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Syria is fighting terrorists and Al Queda types and kudos to it for dismantling the terrorist networks of the Saudis and the Israelis. Way ta go Syria and Hezbollah for smashing the terrorists allied with Israhell, the USA and Saudi Arabia!

    June 6, 2013 at 8:36 am | Reply
  17. Matt

    Assad is a dictator it is 2013, its time for him to go. Imagine being ruled by a dictator the russians know about that all to well, why would they wish it upon anyone else?

    June 6, 2013 at 12:24 am | Reply
    • Eblan

      It's pretty simple Matt: Assad goes and what you'll have is a Syria ruled by Al Qaida who will make sure to disenfranchise any "moderates' who fought with them against Assad, or worse annihilate them. You talk about dictators but you don't want the Saudi family to go? They're supplying the rebels with weapons.

      June 6, 2013 at 12:38 am | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      Good grief Matt, you sound like another run-of-the-mill Tea Partier constantly ranting against anyone who doesn't cater to the right-wing thugs in Washington. How about ranting against that creep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for a change? I guess not since he's another stooge for Washington D.C.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:04 am | Reply
    • Lancesephyr

      Matt sounds like an Israhell-Firster ready to sell put the USA for racist apartheid Israhell....long live Syria under Bashar Al- Assad!

      June 6, 2013 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • StanCaif

      All middle east countries NEED a stong dictator to survive and prosper. All of our interventions and holding "free elections" have produced nothing but chaious! Russia, itself, is ruled by a dictator named Putin!
      "Democracy" is not a suitable system in the middle east, it hasn't produced anything and never will!

      June 6, 2013 at 8:43 am | Reply
      • tones

        agreed you can not have a democratic government of any lasting time in these islamic countries they are a volitile race that get led to water like sheep they have never been rational and never will be if these people didnt have oil they would be a forgotten race they are like giveing petro chemicals to kindergarten kids to play with

        June 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Navyvet8192

      Saddam was a dictator, but he kept his people in check. We intervened and look at us now. Iraq is like hot bubble gum we can't scrape off of our shoes! We need to take care of our own 1st, pure & simple.

      June 6, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
      • tones

        cant agree with you more your so right

        June 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  18. Stoner

    Death to Syria regime

    June 5, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Reply
    • FromRussiaWithLove

      In your dreams...

      June 6, 2013 at 2:13 am | Reply
    • Lancesephyr

      Long live Syria and bravo Russia! Time for the Russian bear to waken from its slumber and assert itself and its greatness!

      June 6, 2013 at 8:38 am | Reply
  19. Rick Buggy's Rants & Ravings

    So what if they are? What about when the States was feeding arms thru Benghazi to the "rebels"? Time to leave that part of the world to the Russian's and Israel!

    June 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  20. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    June 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Reply
    • Navyvet8192

      So...... What's your point. You didn't say anything that people didn't already know, but choose to ignore because it's not in our sandbox. Until people choose to do something, just accept what we got.

      June 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  21. Joe

    If this report is true, then it means that the US supported terrorists are in trouble as there will be no air strikes to back them up. Already the wahabi/salafi terrorists all armed and trained by US and Turkey in addition to the democratic beacons of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are being defeated by Assad who has got huge help from Russia and Iran. Almost everyone (who is sane) hopes Assad wins.

    Because the alternative would be exactly what happened in Afghanistan where US with Saudi and Pakistan support for wahabis and salafis created Taliban and Alqaeda. Already we are seeing the sprouting seeds of terror in Syria. Let's hope Assad will have the American folly under control. Failure on his part is not an option. It is a sorry affair that US instead of helping Russia and Iran is actually helping terrorists because of big ego issues.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      Good posting, Joe. Thank you.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
    • Lancesephyr

      Well said, Joe!

      June 6, 2013 at 8:39 am | Reply
    • Marine

      Um....actually Joe i disagree with you, BECAUSE it happened in Afghanistan it wont happen again. Reason being because the U.S. has already chosen its side and the politicians wont risk the fallout from another Afghanistan mess up. Its the only logical decision, because as i have commented earlier its a power play. Russia is testing us, if we can prove the U.S. is superior this time we will have at least a few years of peace. I beleive this is the most peaceful thing we have done in a long time. if we continue to be disengaged from this conflict, our image as a people will be lost and disrespected. And then the REAL conflict will begin, we need to strong arm this little country into submission.......with reasonable cause of course.......(hint)

      June 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Reply
      • Eblan

        Marine: I regret to inform you that the United States is no longer superior. Your politicians and bankers have turned it into what Russia/Soviet states once were but no longer are. Things have changed since the 1990s. Perhaps you should wake the hell up.

        June 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • JT

        Eblan, what are you talking about? Soviet Union collapsed in part because a lot of the states didn't want to be a part of it and were being held captive by Russia. There's no central "state" in the US that holds others hostage... and the US, even under total economic collapse, would remain as one.

        June 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Steve


      June 7, 2013 at 4:58 am | Reply
  22. USMC1371

    So who cares? We give the rebels/terrorist weapons so way can't Russia support who thet want? If and when it becomes a security issue to the US we should be concerned until then its none of our business.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Reply
    • Marine

      And you need to stop regurgitating that politicaly inclined cowardis the government has used to retreat out of situation involving foreign conflicts.

      June 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Reply
      • Paul

        And YOU need to wake the hell up, even if it means recognizing just how much of your service was in the aid of a lie.

        June 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm |

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