Russia has just sent Syria the largest shipment of missiles between the two countries to date, the latest delivery between the two allies that could further change the stakes in the Middle East, U.S. officials told Fox News on Wednesday.
The shipment of 50 SS-21 short-range ballistic missiles arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus along the Mediterranean Sea in the past two days, the officials said.
“For someone winding down a war, that’s a big missile shipment,” one official said.
The SS-21, which comes in different types, has a range of roughly 100 miles.
Russia has fired two SS-21 missiles and four longer-range SS-26 Iskander missiles in the past two days into Syria’s Idlib province against “opposition” fighters, according to those officials. It was not immediately clear whether the U.S. was backing any of those fighters.
The Iskander is a nuclear-capable missile and has been deployed to Kaliningrad — a Russian enclave in the Baltics — in recent months.
The SS-21 short range missile is called “Scarab” by NATO.
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Moscow’s plans to scale down its military presence in Syria. Moscow’s aircraft carrier, which had been stationed off the coast of Syria, has returned to Russia.
Still, Russia has approximately 50 aircraft in Syria, including fighter jets, helicopter gunships, and drones.