Russia to deploy nuclear bombers to Syria to strengthen presence in region 

According to reports in the Russian media, the planes will be deployed to Russia's Hmeimim airbase next to Latakia in the west of the country, threateningly close to Europe. The base itself will be modernized accordingly 

Putin during a visit to the Hmeimim base in 2017. Photo: Kremlin website/Wikipedia

As part of the Russian strategy for strengthening its presence in Syria, Moscow is to deploy nuclear bombers to its airbase next to Latakia in the west of the country, according to a report by the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta

According to the article, which was quoted by Middle East Monitor, Russia is modernizing the base and rebuilding the runway so it can be used for takeoffs and landings by strategic long-range bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. 

American analyst Joseph Trevithick from the GlobalSecurity.org thinktank told the newspaper that "The Hmeimim base is an important tool for the Russian presence in Syria, and it is more correct to say here that Russia is trying to expand its geopolitical and military influence to include the entire Mediterranean."  

"Russian bombers equipped with winged missiles, launched from the Hmeimim air base, would be able to endanger targets in Europe and strike at the enemy's navy in the event of a conflict," Trevithick explained, adding such planes would be able to respond "more effectively to crises and unexpected situations in the Middle East and North Africa."

It should be mentioned that last year Syria agreed to give Russia additional land to expand the Hmeimim base. But according to the agreement, the additional land was supposed to be for a medical treatment and rehabilitation center for Russian Air Force personnel. 

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