Iran, Russia, China and Syria will hold the Middle East's largest ever war game, Iranian news outlets reported quoting unnamed sources.
According to the report, 90,000 troops, 400 warplanes and 1,000 tanks from the four countries will take part in land and sea exercises.
The war games will feature Russian atomic submarines, according to Iranian media, as well as warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers.
Semi-official Iranian FARS news agency stated that the exercise was being planned in coordination with Egypt, which recently acceded to grant the passage of 12 Chinese warships through the Suez Canal. The report stated that the Chinese naval convoy is due to dock in Syrian harbors within the next two weeks.
Regarding the timing of the planned exercise, FARS quoted unnamed Syrian officials as saying the war game would be held "soon."
Iranian news outlets also included details of Russian plans to send two of its Black Sea fleet ships to Syria's port of Tartus to protect Russian citizens. Russian news outlet RIA Novosti contradicted this report, quoting a Navy official as saying the Caesar Kunikov ship did not set course from Sevastopol to the Mediterranean, and that it is rather en route to measure magnetic and acoustic fields, adding that both ships in the Black Sea fleet were carrying out scheduled routine maintenance. Other Russian media outlets also contradicted the Iranian media reports.
Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report
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