The Globe and Mail, August 7th:
The Kremlin is…plotting the return of the Russian fleet to a Syrian port on the Mediterranean Sea. The new Russian strategy envisions returning warships to a Soviet-era naval base at the port of Tartus.
It would mark the first time Russia has established a military presence outside the borders of the former Soviet Union since the USSR fell apart in 1991.
As dramatic as the Russian fleet’s return to Syria might be, Alexei Malashenko, an expert on the Muslim world at the Carnegie Moscow Centre, said his country’s navy remains in such a dilapidated state that it’s unlikely to affect the balance of power in the region, given the overwhelming presence of the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean.
The Russian fleet’s return to Tartus would, for now, be just a statement of future intent, he said.
NewsMax, August 8th:
Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, flatly denied news reports that Moscow had asked Damascus for port facilities on the Mediterranean coast.
In an exclusive interview with NewsMax’s Stewart Stogel, Ja’afari said, “This is not true, there has been no request from the Russian Navy. We do have a “friendship” agreement, but there has been no agreement on the use of Syrian ports by the Russian Navy.”