03:06 GMT21 October 2020
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    US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander nominee General Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that Russia’s military presence and advanced capabilities in Syria raise concerns over possible conflict between Russia and NATO ally Turkey.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In September 2015, Russia committed its armed forces to help the Syrian government combat terrorism in the country at the request of President Bashar Assad. At that time, Russia expanded its military presence in Syria beyond its traditional naval base at Tartus.

    Votel further noted that Russia’s advanced air defense systems deployed to Syria limit US area access and constitute "one of the key concerns."

    "I think it portends some potential problems here that may linger between Russia and Turkey," Votel said when asked about Russia’s persistent military presence in Syria.

    Following Turkey’s downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria in November, Russia deployed the sophisticated S-400 Triumf air defense system to Syria to defend its air assets.

    Diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Moscow have persisted following the November incident.


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