Russia, Syria Deny Claims of Upcoming War Games with Iran

Moscow. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

A firm denial was issued on Tuesday that a massive war game simulation involving Iran, Syria, Russia and China was soon to be held in Syria. Billed as the largest ever war games drills in the Middle East by the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency, the report said 90,000 persons were to be involved in the land and sea simulations.

While Fars cited “informed sources” in their coverage of the exercises, as well as a report from Sham Life that the drills were set for a month from now, a Syrian official shut down the rumors. Buseina Shaaban, political advisor to President Bashar al-Assad, was quoted by the Russian RIA Novosti agency as saying, “This information is out of synch with reality. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Fars had further claimed that Egypt had agreed to allow 12 Chinese warships to pass through the Suez Canal, which provides access to the Mediterranean Sea.

The Russian Defense Ministry also denied the reports, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). In a statement on Tuesday reported by SANA, the Russian Defense Ministry accused the media coverage of the claims as intending to worsen the conflict in Syria.

It remains unclear where precisely Fars gathered its information. While Fars is semi-official, it has been in trouble with the Iranian government in the past over its reporting.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, June 20, 2012)