Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad arrives in Moscow today. On Tuesday, Russia’s military deployed long-range, nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bombers and
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad arrives in Moscow today.
On Tuesday, Russia’s military deployed long-range, nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bombers and MiG-31 fighter jets to a Russian air base in Hemeimeem, Syria. The deployment comes amid growing international concern over a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Since last month, Russia has conducted its largest naval exercise in the Mediterranean since the Cold War, involving at least 15 warships and 30 aircraft. Following Russia’s 2015 military intervention in Syria in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime Moscow has used Syria as a base to strategically position much of its Mediterranean military forces.
The Kremlin’s latest move serves the dual purpose of signalling to NATO Russia’s military strength in the Mediterranean while also tactically positioning air power in the event of invasion. Expect Syria to remain important to Russia both strategically and tactically. Strategically, a Russian military presence in Syria acts as a deterrent to NATO forces in the Mediterranean. Tactically, Russian forces—particularly air power like bombers and jets—will frustrate or prevent NATO forces, like the US’s approximately 900 troops positioned in Syria, from moving from Syria to Ukraine in the event of a Russia-NATO conflict in eastern Europe.
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