This type of ship can carry 10 main battle tanks and 200 troops or 12 armored personnel carriers and 340 troops or 3 main battle tanks, plus some artillery and air defense systems. In other words - they can carry heavy gear and lots of highly trained Naval Infantry troops to guard it.
I guess that the official reason for their presence would be to protect and evacuate Russian nationals from Syria. But when I think of their cargo load, I also think that they might be bringing in some sensitive and heavy equipment, protected by a lot of very tough personnel.
This is quite amazing: the size and capabilities of the Russian east Mediterranean naval task force is growing every day.
I still am absolutely convinced that Russia has no intention whatsoever of militarily preventing a US attack on Syria. The latest Russian Navy deployments do not signal a preparation for a battle with the USN or CENTCOM. However, it does appear that Russia is willing to do pretty much all it can short of direct military intervention. At the very least, the Russian military is giving itself the capabilities to react with great flexibility to the evolution of the situation in Syria. Once this naval task force will be fully assembled it will be powerful enough to present a serious challenge to the US if needed.
We are not talking about a lone company of Russian paratroopers like those who tried to force Eltsin to save Kosovo in 1999.