NOW reports: Russia plans to expand its military force in Syria and deploy jets to a second airbase near Homs, according to a Kuwaiti daily with close access to Moscow’s military intervention in Syria.
Al-Rai reported Monday morning that a Russian intelligence brigade would deploy near the Al-Shayrat Airbase located approximately 35 kilometers southeast of Homs.
“The Al-Shayrat airbase houses around 45 airplane hangars, each of which is fortified in a way that prevents any damage if it is shelled or targeted,” sources in the Damascus joint operations room of the “4+1” military coalition of Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah told the newspaper’s chief international correspondent, Elijah J. Magnier.
“It also has a main runway and a 3 kilometer backup runway that engineering teams are working to prepare,” the sources added.
Russia currently conducts its air sorties from the Hmeimim airbase adjacent to Latakia’s International Airport, where it has deployed a force of approximately 50 aircraft since the late summer.
The report added that Moscow wants Hezbollah, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iraqi militias fighting on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime to seize the ISIS-held towns of Qaryatayn and Palmyra, both of which are located near the Al-Shayrat base, in order to “prevent any shelling that might affect the Russian air forces inside it.” [Continue reading…]