Discussions are underway to set up a new Russian airbase in Syria, revealed Russian media.
The talks are being held between Moscow and Damascus over the lease of the Qamishli Airport in northeastern Syria, reported Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
It added that Moscow was also considering deploying its defense and missile defense systems in the Qamishli area to “intercept potential American strikes”.
Russia currently controls the Hmeimim airbase in Syria and a naval facility in Tartus, which it has rented for 49 years and plans to turn into a bona-fide naval base.
The Gazeta wrote that Russia’s permanent presence in Qamishli could help Bashar Assad regime regain control of the country.
“If Moscow establishes a presence there, it will allow neither the Americans nor the Turks to enter the city,” it said.
The Qamishli airfield is located only 500km from the Hmeimim base. However, experts believe that it would be used to control American missiles stationed in the Middle East.
Quoting a Russian missile and space defense expert, the newspaper said: “Although the S-400 missile systems could come in handy to ensure air safety in the country’s northeast, they could control the skies above Syria, Turkey and Iraq.”
The newspaper also explained that by withdrawing troops from northern Syria, the United States missed an opportunity on some strategically important areas that Russia now controls.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow insists that the Syrian regime should take control over the entire territory of the country as soon as possible.
This is the only way to ensure the political process and eliminate terrorism, he said at a press conference after talks with his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.