Washington and Athens conducting a joint live-fire exercise at the foot of Mount Olympus in January is "the latest sign" of the US military expanding its presence in Greece, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.
The newspaper cited Greek Brigadier General Georgios Fasoulos, who observed the exercises, as saying that the Athens-Washington alliance equally meets the interests of both sides.
"For Greece, it is important to have a strong ally, while the United States deems it significant to join an alliance with a stable country in the current unstable situation," Fasoulos said.
US Lieutenant Colonel Jamie LaValley, for his part, pointed to what he described as Greece's "ideal" geographical position to carry out military drills over the Aegean Sea and at a high altitude above Mount Olympus on a small territory".
He was echoed by Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said during his visit to Athens in September 2018 that Washington is planning on expanding its presence in Greece by increasing its use of military bases and ports in the country.
"If you look at geography, […] and you look at current operations in Syria, you look at potential other operations in the eastern Mediterranean, the geography of Greece and the opportunities here are pretty significant," he pointed out.
Since October, Greek and US servicemen have reportedly been undergoing joint training at a base near the city of Volos, as well as in Alexandropoulos and Araxos, while a an American MQ-9 Reaper UAV conducted flights from the Larissa Air Force base.
Separately, media reported that the Pentagon plans to use Greek bases in the Peloponnese, though the allegations that were later rejected by Athens.