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Russia-Syria Military Cooperation 'Indefinite' as Moscow Looks to Open Second Airbase

Russia could be looking to convert a Syrian airport into a second military airbase, according to reports

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Has Russia made a long-term commitment to protecting Syria's sovereignty? With a looming budgetary crisis and a plunging ruble (it was 82 rubles to the dollar on Wednesday), one could argue that Russia lacks the resources to stick it out in Syria until the end.

But there's good reason to believe otherwise

<figcaption>Russia won't leave until the "moderate rebels" are gone</figcaption>
Russia won't leave until the "moderate rebels" are gone

The agreement between Russia and Syria to increase the number of Russian aircraft in the Arab country, signed in last August, is indefinite, as was confirmed on Friday by the legal information portal.

Signed in Damascus in August 26th, 2015 by the ministries of Defense, the understanding states that the presence of Russia's military force is not aimed against third countries, and aims to defend the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the signing parties.

Multiple sources (including the less-than-reliable Syrian Observatory for Human Rights) are reporting that Russia has begun scouting out a location for a potential second airbase in Syria. According to reports, Russian engineers have been examining Syria's Qamishli International Airport, likely in preparation to bolster the airport's defenses and accommodate Russian fighter jets

The activist Local Coordination Committees claimed that a delegation of Russian troops had flown into Qamishli International Airport.

“One hundred Russian soldiers, including ten officers of different ranks, arrived Monday morning at Qamishli airport on a special Syrian military aircraft,” the network of local activist groups reported overnight Tuesday.

The group added that the Russian military delegation proceeded to deploy to the nearby Regiment 154 base, which serves as a defensive line for the airport and is equipped with radars, anti-aircraft guns as well as artillery batteries.

LCC also quoted its sources saying that Russian intelligence officers visited Qamishli to meet with both Kurdish and regime security officials to discuss the Russian military presence.

Russia's presence in Syria is as much about Russian security as it is about kicking foreign actors out of Syria. We don't see Moscow pulling out any time soon.





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