The unidentified sources said Israeli military leaders were unaware that Russian had already moved so many vessels into Syrian territory following a Sept. 12 agreement between the two countries, DEBKAfile, a Israeli news Web site, reported Friday.
The military intelligence Web site said the agreement reached between Russian navy commander Adm. Vladimir Wysotsky and Syrian naval commander Gen. Taleb al-Barri allows Russia to use Syrian ports as long-term naval bases.
Rear Adm. Baranov said that the Russian vessels are in Tartus to help widen the harbor to accommodate additional vessels in the future.
Such a potential increased military presence by Russian in Syria has Israeli officials concerned that their nearby country could be forced into a potential international conflict. DEBKAfile said some Israeli officials fear Russia is preparing for a showdown with the United States and NATO regarding the situation in Georgia and the rest of the Caucasus region.
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