Translated by Ollie Richardson
Russia intends to make “Hmeymim” airbase a full-fledged military base in Syria and to place there a permanent contingent of Air and Space forces. This was reported on Thursday, August 11th, to “Izvestia” with reference to the first Deputy of the Federation Council Committee on Defense Franz Klinzewitsch.
“After reconciling the legal status of “Hmeymim” to become the base of the Russian Armed Forces, the relevant infrastructure will be built there, and our soldiers will live in decent conditions. The Air Force may be increased in accordance with bilateral agreements, but so far, in terms of the solution of tasks the existing forces and means are enough,” said the Senator, noting that the presence of nuclear weapons and strategic bombers on a regular basis is not planned.
A source in the Defense Ministry clarified that it is planned to expand the infrastructure of “Hmeymim” by building a new parking lot for aircraft. According to him, in order to improve the security at the base, a separate base for squadrons may be introduced. In addition, there will be a new electronic equipment, including systems for air traffic control.
Also in the plans is the creation of conditions for the basing and maintenance of heavy transport aircraft. “Stationary objects in the garrison will also be built – barracks, canteens, a hospital, and in addition, it will be equipped with “Pantsir” positions for anti-aircraft missile and gun systems covering the airfield,” added the source.
On August 9th, the Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Viktor Ozerov said that the Russian military base in Syria will allow a more prompt delivery of means of the Air Force in hot spots around the world.
Earlier in the day, President Vladimir Putin introduced a draft agreement for ratification to the State Duma between Russia and Syria on the indefinite location of the air grouping of the Russian Armed Forces at the Hmeymim air base in the province of Latakia.
Russia deployed in Syria a group of aviation and supporting units in September 2015, and since 30th September, the aircraft have been involved in strikes against radical Islamist groups. The basis for this operation was the request of the President Bashar al-Assad on the provision of military assistance. On the 14th March 2016, Putin gave the order to withdraw the main part of the Russian military contingent from Syria, as the military had practically solved all tasks set before them.
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