Russian pilots check their Su-34 bomber in Hmeymim airbase, Latakia, Syria before a flight. Photo: EPA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region--Russian aircraft may be deployed “indefinitely” to Syria under the pretext of safeguarding stability in the region, said a senior Russian senator, Franz Klintsevich, the First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee for Defense Security.
“I think that the Federation Council will have no problems considering the agreement between Russia and Syria on deploying an aviation group from Russia’s Armed Forces indefinitely to Hmeymim air base. We will deal with this shortly after its ramification by the State Duma [Russian Parliament],” Klintsevich said on Tuesday, according to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency.
Klintsevich said that the agreement between the Kremlin and the Syrian regime was carried out with the “full understanding that this agreement is needed for ensuring stability in the region.”
“Now it is high time to show that the Syrian people can rely on Russia in a very long-term prospect,” Klintsevich claimed.
Syria initially agreed to allow Russian military aircraft to be based on its territory and operate in its airspace in late August 2015. The document signed between the two claimed the deployment “is in line with the aims of maintaining peace and stability in the region, is of defensive nature and is not directed against any other countries.”
Hmeymim air base is in Syria’s western Latakia province. Russian warplanes from that base have carried out routine airstrikes across the country in support of the Syrian regime since their deployment on September 30 of last year.
Russia previously announced that it was withdrawing the bulk of its forces from Syria in mid-March. However only some planes were permanently withdrawn and Russia maintains a highly formidable arsenal of military aircraft in Syria.