Russia seems to be expanding its military presence in Syria if satellite photos released Tuesday of two new and unreported bases are an indication.
The discovery comes at a time when US is becoming increasingly suspicious of Moscow’s intentions in Syria. Many Americans believe Russia may be joining the war against Islamic Forces only to protect President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
US Secretary of State John Kerry bluntly said Russian build-up in Syria is to protect its own forces in that country.
An analysis of the satellite imagery by IHS Janes Intelligence Review points to new bases at Istamo weapons storage complex and Al-Sanobar military complex, both located north of Latakia airport.
So far, Russia’s arms build-up for Syria was going on only in the south of the port city Latakia.
Preparations seem to be under way to receive Russian forces at these new bases.
Among the indications are the construction of new buildings, significant surface clearing, the grading and paving of terrain, and the presence of tents of the same type as those used by Russian military units.
Syria has admitted of receiving advanced fighter and reconnaissance aircraft from Russia to add fire power in their fight against Islamic State.
Russian fighter planes 4 Su-30SM, 12 Su-25, 12 Su-24M and six Ka-52s are stationed at Latakia (Bassel al-Assad) airport.
An AFP report says the Syrian air force has taken delivery of at least five fighter planes from Moscow, as well as reconnaissance aircraft which can help Syrian Forces identify targets with great accuracy.
Russia has also sent other sophisticated military equipment to the Syrian forces, Their infantry units are now receiving more accurate satellite images of ISIS positions.
US officials have found 28 Russian fighter aircraft in Syria. According to them, Moscow may be sending 2,000 personnel to an airbase south of Latakia.
Meanwhile, the Kommersant newspaper in Moscow quoted a soldier at the naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus as saying that the number of Russian specialists there had grown to 1,700.