12:35 GMT06 March 2021
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    The first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia's parliament), said that Russia plans to turn the Hmeymim base in Syria into a fully operational base.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia plans to turn the Hmeymim base in Syria into a fully operational base, Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia's parliament), said.

    "After an agreement on its legal status, Hmeymim will become a base of Russian armed forces, all the appropriate infrastructure will be built there and our servicemen will live in decent conditions," Klintsevich said in an interview with the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

    According to the defense official, a permanent contingent of Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) could be based at the Hmeymim airbase, located in the northwestern Syrian Latakia province.

    "The VKS unit could be increased in accordance with bilateral agreements, but so far, from the perspective of tasks at hand, the forces currently deployed there [at Hmeymim] are enough," Klintsevich said.

    He stressed that nuclear weapons and heavy bombers will not be permanently deployed at the Hmeymim base in Syria as it is against international agreements.

    The Hmeymim air base began operations in September 2015, when Russia started its counter-terrorist aerial campaign against Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh) jihadists, as well as other affiliated radicals, in Syria.


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