Concern over Russia’s involvement in Syria continues to grow as satellite images appear to show construction taking place at an airport in Lattakia. Sources suggest that Russia is building a military base to ease its operations in Syria as it seeks to increase its support for the Assad regime that has seen setbacks in Idlib and Aleppo against the revolutionary forces.
Russia insists that there is nothing new in its position and that it has supported the Assad regime for years. However the US believes that the scale and speed with which weapons and logistics have been supplied to Syria recently threatens to prolong the Syrian conflict and hinders any genuine efforts for a solution.
Russia is believed to be exerting its influence in the region following the Iran Deal which has seen its former ally welcome a rapprochement with the West and has set Russia and Iran on course for increased competition as the latter seeks to enter markets typically dominated by the former. Russia is also averse to any potential for the presence of NATO on its borders and is keen to ensure that Syria remains within its own sphere of influence. The move comes as Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov stated that the US should begin to consult with Russia on a military front or risk ‘unintended incidents’.