Russia to build permanent Syrian naval base, eyes other outposts

Source: Reuters

Russia will create a permanent naval base in Syria to expand its military footprint in its closest Middle East ally, a government official said on Monday, a week after Moscow said it was considering reopening Soviet-era bases in Vietnam and Cuba.

The move, announced by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov, is further evidence Russia is building up its capabilities in Syria despite a partial drawdown in March and another sign it is digging in for the long haul to help prop up President Bashar al-Assad.

“By doing this Russia is not only increasing its military potential in Syria but in the entire Middle East,” Senator Igor Morozov, a member of the upper house of parliament’s International Affairs Committee, told the RIA news agency.

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