Two Iranian naval ships returned from Syria through the Suez Canal on Tuesday, a Suez Canal source said.

The ships entered the canal from the Mediterranean Sea early in the morning, heading south towards the Red Sea, and were expected to leave the canal on Tuesday afternoon, the source said.

The ships had docked at the Syrian port of Tartous, in a show of support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, a regional ally of Iran.

The ships were said to be providing training for Syrian naval forces.

Iranian Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Ahmad Vahidi on Tuesday claimed that by passing through the Suez Canal twice in one year, the Iranian navy was demonstrating the ineffectiveness of sanctions against Tehran.

Traversing the Suez, he told official Iranian news agency IRNA, indicates the Islamic Republic's commitment to continue developing its navy. Iran is seriously pursuing plans to retain a presence in international waters, he added.

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