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Russia ‘Setting up Airbase in Syria’ as Putin Escalates Moscow’s Role in Civil War


NEW YORK: Russia is building a military base in Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s heartland, according to American intelligence officials, in the clearest indication yet of deepening support from Moscow for the embattled regime.The anonymous officials say Russia has set up an air traffic control tower and transported prefabricated housing units for up to 1,000 personnel to an airfield serving the Syrian port city of Latakia.Russia has also requested the right to fly over neighbouring countries with military cargo aircraft throughout this month, according to the reports.The claims, which will raise fears that Russia is planning to expand its role in the country’s civil war, will ratchet up tensions between Moscow and Washington over the future of Syria and its brutal ruler.Russia has been a key supporter of Mr Assad during the past four years of civil war, using its UN Security Council veto to ease international pressure on his embattled regime.On Friday Barack Obama met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia to repeat the US’s insistence that any lasting settlement in Syria requires an end to the Assad regime.It leaves the US and Russia implacably opposed in their visions for Syria.


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