Media reports say that Russia may rent an airfield in the Syrian city of Qamishli located several kilometers from the Turkish border, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote.
The city of Qamishli and its large dual-use airfield have strategic importance in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province. Even during the most challenging years of the war against the Islamic State terror group, the city remained under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s control, and Russian warplanes along with cargo aircraft participating in the war on terror landed there on numerous occasions.
Russia’s permanent presence in Qamishli could help the Assad government regain control of the region. If Moscow establishes a presence there, it will allow neither the Americans nor the Turks to enter the city. However, there is also a third aspect that concerns the West a lot. By withdrawing troops from northern Syria, the United States missed an opportunity on some strategically important areas that Russia now controls.
A Russian missile and space defense expert told the newspaper on condition of anonymity that Moscow had no need to deploy land-based radar stations near the Turkish border in Qamishli. “It is a story concocted by journalists and Western intelligence agencies,” he noted. “Although the S-400 missile systems could come in handy to ensure air safety in the country’s northeast. They could control the skies above Syria, Turkey and Iraq,” the expert specified.
Russia currently has the Hmeymim air base in Syria and a naval facility in Tartus, which Moscow has rented for 49 years and plans to turn into a bona-fide naval base.