- Western observers fear that Russia is building up its naval forces ahead of a possible major assault on rebel positions in Syria
- Once the Russian fleet arrives, Moscow will have the firepower to push for a decisive military victory
Matthew Chance is CNN's senior international correspondent. He has reported extensively on major stories for CNN's global news networks from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Russia and Chechnya, Europe and the Far East. The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author.
(CNN)Russia is believed to be sending a massive naval task force, with warships from its Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets, to the Mediterranean Sea in preparation for what could be a major escalation in the conflict in Syria.