03:57 GMT07 March 2021
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    Russia is planning to turn the Hmeymim base in Syria into a fully operational base. In an interview with Sputnik, former chief editor of the Iranian news agency MehrNews Hassan Hanizadeh commented on the issue.

    According to the expert, Russia's initiative to create a full-fledged military base in the Syrian airport of Hmeymim is primarily viewed as an important step towards ensuring security and stabilization in the region.

    "Middle Eastern countries (Syria itself, as well as Iran, Iraq, Lebanon) only welcome this Russian initiative, because Russia has never pursued the goal of military aggression and colonization of this region; the goal of the Russian military presence is to contribute to the stabilization and ensure security in Syria and the Middle East," the expert said.

    The expert also argued that the military bases created by the United States in various parts of the world, by contrast, only bring destruction and undermine safety in many regions.

    "Russia, in contrast to the Americans, seeks to assist countries in ensuring security no matter where it places its military bases, and not fueling a war. Given the fact that in the Syrian port of Tartus there is a logistics base of the Russian Navy, the establishment of a permanent Russian military base at the airfield of Hmeymim wouldn't pose any threat to the Syrian people," Hanizadeh said.

    He also mentioned that the expansion of the Russian military presence in Syria would further intensify the fight against "terrorist groups sponsored by the US and Saudi Arabia". Thus, the Russian military would be beneficial "for all the countries in the region who want to defeat terrorism," the expert concluded.

    The Hmeymim air base began operations in September 2015, when Russia started its counterterrorist aerial campaign against Daesh jihadists, as well as other affiliated radicals, in Syria. Now Russia plans to expand it in order to ensure that its operations run smoothly and to enhance its security by adding extra aprons, building barracks and a hospital, as well as assigning extra space for large transport aircraft.

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    Tags:
    military base, terrorism, Syria, Russia
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