Today, Russia’s parliament votes to ratify an agreement that allows the country access to Syria’s Khmeimim air base and Tartus
Today, Russia’s parliament votes to ratify an agreement that allows the country access to Syria’s Khmeimim air base and Tartus port for 49 years; it will undoubtedly be passed.
State-owned Tass reports that Russia can now maintain up to 11 warships at the Mediterranean port, doubling its previous allowance. The Khmeimim air base houses numerous anti-aircraft systems, 4,000 troops and a dozen aircraft.
These bases are Russia’s only outlets to the Mediterranean Sea and its only outposts outside of the former Soviet bloc, making them crucial for Moscow if a conflict were to erupt with Nato.
This development is in line with numerous Russian attempts to augment its military presence in the MENA region, from which the US has been seemingly retracting over the past few years. In Libya, Moscow supports Khalifa Haftar against the UN-backed Government of National Accord. Presumably, like in Syria, the Kremlin’s end goal is an allowance of military bases and access to ports in the riparian state.