Moscow continued to reinforce its missile capabilities in Syria despite its assertions that large-scale military operations in the war-torn country have ended.
Russian media reported Monday that Russian navy cruisers, supplied with Kalibr missiles, crossed the Bosphorus Strait and entered the Mediterranean Sea on their way to the Syrian port of Tartus.
Moscow did not officially announce the reasons behind bolstering its missile capabilities in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a week earlier that his forces will not take part in new military operations in Syria.
He did, however, leave a chance for limited activity in regions ruled by groups designated as terrorist by Russia.
The naval movements drew the attention because the cruisers were previously dispatched to Syria when Moscow kicked off its military intervention in the country in October 2015.
Back then, they launched intensive strikes, using Kalibr missiles, on several locations in Syria.
Russian military circles said it is unlikely that the movement towards Tartus was linked to military operations in Idlib.
Experts instead said the cruiser activity was part of the re-positioning of Russian forces and reinforcement of capabilities in the Mediterranean.