Russian warships loaded with tanks have been spotted leaving Turkish waters headed for Syria.
It comes as the world awaits Vladimir Putin’s response to airstrikes on Assad’s chemical weapons programme carried out by the US, UK and France.
Putin is expected to order ‘payback’ in the form of a cyber warfare in the West.
But images posted online suggest Russia will also step up its military efforts in the Syrian region.
Orsk, Russia’s amphibious transport ship, was seen leaving the Bosphorus strait on Sunday.
Naval observer Yoruk Isik said it was headed for Tartus, Russia’s coastal base in Syria, for the fourth time.
It was loaded up with appeared to be tanks, lorries and military hardware.
Mr Isik highlighted that a Pelena-6 communications jammer looks to have been installed on the chassis of one of the tanks.
A second ship, the yellow tanker RoRo Alexandr Tkachenko was also pictured carrying trucks and materials for bridge construction.
Crossing the Rubicon ? Supply & reinforcement for Russia’s #Syria campaign continues: Russian Gov chartered, #Russia flag RoRo Alexandr Tkachenko transits Med-bound Bosphorus en route to #Tartus carrying Project 03160 Raptor, BMK-T bridge erection boat, KamAZ & Ural 4320 trucks. pic.twitter.com/fC3CG5XSaZ
— Yörük Işık (@YorukIsik) April 13, 2018
It comes as Theresa May faces a backlash for snubbing MPs before joining the US-led assault.
It’s claimed hackers could release embarrassing information about politicians as part of a two-pronged “dirty war” in retaliation for the bombing of Syria.
Spy chiefs also fear the Russian President is plotting a series of cyber attacks that could potentially cripple infrastructure – including the NHS, transport and power networks.
Intelligence officers at GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence are tonight said to be on standby to respond to any cyber warfare “proportionately”.
The US, Britain and France hit three sites in Syria in response to a suspected deadly chlorine attack that killed up to 75 in former rebel stronghold Douma.
Last night Russian president Putin branded the missile strikes on his ally an “act of aggression” and warned further attacks would “have a destructive effect” on world peace.
PM Theresa May has reportedly received intelligence Russia could hit members of the UK establishment with “kompromat” – compromising information that could smear their reputations.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Moscow had a track record of cyber attacks and meddling in other countries’ democratic processes.
He told the BBC: “You have to take every precaution, and when you look at what Russia has done, not just in this country, in Salisbury, attacks on TV stations, on the democratic processes, on critical national infrastructure – of course we have to be very, very cautious.
“But I want to stress, we in the UK do not seek an escalation, absolutely not.”
Mr Johnson said Western powers had no plans for further strikes, but would assess their options if Syria’s government used chemical weapons again. He added: “This is not about regime change … This is not about trying to turn the tide of the conflict in Syria.”