Russia is developing Hmeimim Air Base on the Syrian coast so that it can receive strategic nuclear bombers, Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported on February 9.
According to the Russian daily, Russia is extending Hmeimim’s runway to receive long-range strategic aircrafts capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Once the development is complete, Russia will be able to deploy strategic bombers at the air base. From Hmeimim, the bombers will be able to attack terrorist groups in Syria and support Russian forces in the Mediterranean, Nezavisimaya Gazeta claimed.
US analyst Joseph Trevithick told the outlet that Russian bombers will also able to respond more effectively to crises and unexpected situations in the Middle East and North Africa.
“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,” Trevithick said. “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.”
In 2015, Damascus and Moscow signed a treaty effectively allowing the Russian military to use Hmeimim Air Base free of charge and with no time limit.
The Russian air base played a critical role in the war against terrorism. The ongoing development project is an example of how Russia has been working to expand its influence in the Middle East and North Africa.