After making some somewhat contradictory statements, the Russians have apparently decided to send troops and ships to the Syrian port of Tartus after all.
While they're somewhat reluctant to reveal exactly what will be landing, Interfax sources revealed that the fleet hitting Tarsus will consist of three landing assault ships,( similar to our U.S.S. Boxer) an anti-submarine ship and four smaller vessels, probably escort class or patrol boats. The ships are carrying a contingent of about 360 Russian marines and amphibious armored personnel carriers.
There's a great deal of speculation going around as to what the Russians are up to.
There's some speculation the the Russians are there to evacuate their nationals and load sensitive equipment. I doubt it.
The only way that happens is if the Russians go on a mission to Damascus and secure a landing strip. Even at that,there are well over 30,000 Russian nationals in Syria, far too many to evacuate without a long term mission.
I think what is happening here is that Assad just got resupplied, and the marines and APC's are there to escort the swag to him...and perhaps take a few well connected Russians back out with them.
It looks more and more like Assad is putting together the redoubt in Northwest Syria I wrote about earlier.