Russia is extending its military presence in Syria by upgrading the bases in Tartus and Khmeimim into permanent military centers, Moscow’s defense ministry said Tuesday.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was quoted as saying by local media on Tuesday that the ministry has started forming a permanent grouping of forces at the Tartus naval facility and the Hmeymim airbase in Syria. After the Russian-Syrian agreement signed early this year on Tartus is ratified, the naval facility will become a full-fledged naval base.
Khmeimim Airbase, located near Latakia, and the naval site in the port city of Tartus have both been handed over to Russia for 49 years lease-free and with a condition of automatic extension unless either country chooses to terminate the deal.
Following the vote by Russia's upper house of parliament to extend the military's lease Shoigu announced plans to drastically expand the Mediterranean naval facility, creating space to keep 11 warships, including nuclear vessels.
The Hmeimim base has served as the main foothold for the Russian military campaign in Syria. Tartus naval facility has been in use since the days of the Soviet Union and is Russia's only naval foothold in the Mediterranean.
A United States F-22 warplane and a Russian F-35 jet was involved in an incident of apparent intimidation over Syria when the latter “rapidly approached” the former which itself was “hampering” two Russian Su-25 fighters escorting an aid convoy. The Russian Defence Ministrys version says that the incident took place Wednesday in the vicinity of the Syrian town of Mayadin, when two Su-25 close air support jets were escorting a humanitarian aid convoy
Russia has reached an agreement with Damascus to expand the formers naval base in Syrias Tartus. According to the agreement, Russia will use the joint facilities free of charge
Russia has briefed UN delegation on peacekeeping operations about training process for humanitarian mine clearance and operations carried out in Syria. The UN delegation headed by Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations visited the Russian International Mine Action Centre located in Nakhabino, Moscow region, to discuss future cooperation and joint peacekeeping activity, Russian MoD said in a statement Monday
(NOTE: The story has been updated on 27 November 2017. The Russian MoD claims were proved to be pictures from a video game
The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that two “military personnel” died in a mortar attack on its Khmeimim airbase in Syrias Latakia Province on December 31, but denies reports on the alleged destruction of seven Russian warplanes. The statement comes amid reports from Russian newspaper Kommersant that the attack destroyed four Su-24 bombers, two Su-35S fighters, and an An-72 transport plane and an ammunition depot
The Russian ministry of defense has denied reports of its military aircraft being shot at by Syrian opposition forces or IS militants. It has however confirmed that one of its Mi-24 aircraft crashed in Syria killing both the pilots aboard
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