An Iranian-flagged oil tanker was escorted by two Russian Navy ships bound for Syria, the United States Naval Institute reported on October 21.
The Iranian tanker, Samah, entered Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal in mid-October. Soon after, the tanker turned off its automated identification system and started heading towards the Syrian coast.
A satellite image taken on October 15 showed that the tanker was escorted by two Russian Navy ships, the replenishment oiler Academic Pashin and the Udaloy-class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov. The image was released by defense analyst H I Sutton.
By the morning of October 17, a tanker resembling Samah was seen anchored off the Baniyas oil terminal on the Syrian coast.
Last July, an Iranian tanker heading to Syria, Adrian Darya-1, was seized by U.K. Royal Marines in international waters off Gibraltar’s coast. Back then, Britain accused Iran of violating the EU’s sanctions on Syria.
The Russian Navy’s protection will prevent any harassment of Iranian vessels heading to Syria, which is suffering from crippling sanctions.
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