Skip to main content

Russian military high command warns that Moscow might build an air force base in Syria

Source: Interfax-AVN

The deputy head of Russia's Joint Chiefs, Nikolai Boganovsky, has admitted the possibility that Moscow might construct an air force base in Syria. "There are no plans for any such base today, but anything can happen," Boganovsky told the news agency Interfax-AVN

On September 14, Bloomberg reported that Russia is currently leading talks on removing Assad from power. Bloomberg cited sources in Russia, the US, and Saudi Arabia and reported that the talks are dedicated to a transition period, during which Assad will remain the temporary head of state. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia does not get involved in “regime change,” and the reports are mere speculation.

Various media sources have been reporting on Russia’s growing military presence in Syria since early September. Russia has claimed that the military cooperation with Syria is legal and in line with contracts for weapons supplies. Russian authorities have said that there are no Russian soldiers participating in the fighting in Syria.

In mid-September, Stratfor published satellite images showing construction at Assad International Airport near Latakia in Syria. Moscow announced on September 15 that Russia is participating in the construction because the airport’s airstrip is in such poor condition that it is impeding necessary military operations in the country. According to a military source speaking with Russian newspaper Vedomosti, these operations include delivering humanitarian aid and weapons purchased by Syria. The source also said that Russian soldiers are guarding the airstrip and the delivery of goods, but are not participating in any fighting in the country.

For more on what we know and don’t know about Russia’s role in the Syrian civil war, see Russian troops in Syria: What we know and don’t know about the Russian military’s role in the Syrian civil war