Russia plans permanent naval base in Syria’s Tartus

Russia plans permanent naval base in Syria’s Tartus
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during the opening session of the newly-elected State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in Moscow, Russia, October 5, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Nikolskyi via REUTERS

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said Monday that Moscow plans to establish a permanent naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus.

  • Moscow last week deployed S-300 surface-to air missiles to Tartus.
  • Pankov told Russian senators: "We will have a permanent naval base at Tartus. The necessary documents are already prepared and are in the process of being approved by different agencies. We hope we can ask you to ratify these documents soon."
  • Senator Igor Morozov: "By doing this Russia is not only increasing its military potential in Syria but in the entire Middle East and in the Mediterranean region as a whole.”
  • Russia already has a permanent air base at Hmeymim in Syria's Latakia province.
  • Current Tartus naval facility unable to accommodate large warships.

(MOSCOW, RUSSIA) Russia intends to establish a permanent naval base on the site of an existing facility it leases at the Syrian port of Tartus, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said on Monday, Russian news agencies reported.

Pankov's statement is the latest sign that Moscow wants to expand its military footprint in Syria where it has been helping President Bashar al-Assad fight rebels since 2015. Moscow last week deployed S-300 surface-to air missiles to Tartus.

"We will have a permanent naval base at Tartus," Pankov told Russian senators. "The necessary documents are already prepared and are in the process of being approved by different agencies. We hope we can ask you to ratify these documents soon."

Senator Igor Morozov told the RIA news agency that the decision would allow Russia to operate more ships in the Mediterranean as they would have an enhanced facility at which they could refuel and resupply.

"By doing this Russia is not only increasing its military potential in Syria but in the entire Middle East and in the Mediterranean region as a whole," said Morozov.

Russia already has a permanent air base at Hmeymim in Syria's Latakia province from which it launches air strikes against ISIS.

Moscow inherited a Soviet-era naval facility at Tartus when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Russian navy's sole foothold in the Mediterranean. Despite some modernization, it is currently fairly modest and unable to accommodate larger warships.

This article was contributed by Reuters

Please contact TRUNEWS correspondent Edward Szall with any news tips related to this story.
Email: Edward.Szall@trunews.com | Twitter: @EdwardSzall | Facebook: Ed Szall 
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