Small Wars Journal

Russia’s Probably Not Leaving Syria Anytime Soon. Here’s Why.

Russia’s Probably Not Leaving Syria Anytime Soon. Here’s Why. By Kyle Rempfer – Military Times

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad wants a long-term Russian military presence in his homeland, not just to help with counter-terrorism operations, but also to provide a balance against other powers.

“Now there is an agreement between Syria and Russia about the base in Khmeimim, as you know, it will be valid for more than 40 years,” Assad told state media, according to TASS, a Kremlin-owned news service.

“If the question were: Did the Russian army come here only to fight terrorism, then why conclude a contract for more than 40 years? It could be limited to several years and then constantly renewed.”

Khmeimim Air Base is located near the Syrian port city of Latakia, and currently used by the Russian Air Force. The airstrip there is capable of landing large transport planes, as well as Sukhoi Su-24 bombers, Sukhoi Su-25 ground-attack fighters, Sukhoi Su-34 bombers and Russian military helicopters, according to Russian state media.

Given that the base was built specifically for Russian forces in 2015, the permanence of the position isn’t too surprising…

Read on.