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Archive for the ‘Russia & Syria’ Category

Navy back in Syria

Posted by Kris Roman on February 27, 2009


Russian warships have returned to the naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus, used by the Soviet Union since the late sixties, after more than a decade of absence.

In August 2008, Syrian president Bashar Assad, during his visit to Russia, pointed out that his country is open for talks with Russia about reactivating the use of the naval base in Tartus.

It was in 1967 that the Soviet Navy started using this Syrian port as one of its main Mediterranean stations.

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Russian warships to visit Syrian port

Posted by Kris Roman on January 12, 2009


flotte-russeA naval task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet will visit on Monday the Syrian port of Tartus, where the Russian Navy keeps a maintenance and resupply site, a Navy spokesman said.

The task force, which includes the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Admiral Levchenko destroyer and the Nikolay Chiker salvage tug, is currently on a tour of duty in the Mediterranean.

Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said the carrier group had carried out joint exercises with the Turkish Navy last week and would return to its duties in the Mediterranean Sea after visiting Tartus.

The Soviet-era Navy maintenance site near Tartus is the only Russian foothold in the Mediterranean.

Russian media reports have suggested the facility could be turned into a base for the country’s Black Sea Fleet, which could lose its current main base in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula in 2017.

About 50 naval personnel and three floating piers are reportedly deployed at the Tartus site, which can accommodate up to a dozen warships, and Russia is expanding the port and building a pier in nearby El-Latakia.

No official confirmation of the reports has been made.

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The implications of a Russo-Syrian partnership

Posted by Kris Roman on August 22, 2008

Syrian President Bashar al Assad arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for a two-day visit during which he will meet with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. Al Assad’s invitation to Moscow was announced shortly after Russia began its military offensive against Georgia. The timing was no coincidence, and Damascus fully intends to ride Russia’s wave of resurgence into regional prominence.

Russia and Syria had a close defense relationship during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union maintained a naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea off the Syrian coast and facilities at Syrian ports. In those days, Syria used its relationship with Russia to protect itself from the threat of Israel. But that patronage dried up even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Syrian defense structures — its air defense network, for example — began falling into disrepair.

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