Russian Parliamentarians Back Indefinite Military Deployment in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Russia's involvement in Syria isn't short-term. It's successfully combating US-supported terrorists, ravaging the country, massacring civilians, committing other atrocities. Western and regional rogue states allied with Washington support them.
On Monday, Moscow announced plans to upgrade its Tartus, Syria logistics facility to a permanent naval base. Its in-country aerial forces are stationed at Khmeimim air base in Syria's Latakia province.
It's home-based long-range bombers and warships are part of its Syria operations. Its special forces are involved - aiding Syria's military, helping direct Russian airstrikes, performing other duties as needed.
Moscow supplied Damascus with artillery and other weapons, along with reconnaissance equipment and important technologies.
Its sophisticated S-400 air defense systems can target and destroy perceived aerial threats up to 400 km away at altitudes up to 90,000 feet - including fifth generation warplanes, ballistic and cruise missiles.
They can simultaneously engage up to 36 targets with up to 72 missiles. They render stealth aircraft obsolete. They're protecting Russian facilities and personnel.
On October 7, Russia's lower house State Duma approved indefinite deployment of Russian aerial forces and supporting ground personnel in Syria.
On October 12, upper house Federation Council approval followed - in both cases unanimously except for one abstention.
Agreement was arranged with Damascus in August 2015, almost a year later submitted to the State Duma for ratification. It stipulates Russian aerial forces will remain indefinitely in Syria at the Kmeimim airbase on a pro bono basis, per request by Damascus.
According to Federation Council Defense Committee First Deputy Chairman Franz Klintsevich, "the agreement is most favorable to Russia and its military contingent without infringing upon Syria's interests."
"(D)eployment of Russian military aircraft to the Khmeymim airbase for an indefinite period of time is the first but far from the last step" in consolidating Russia's presence "not only in Syria and in the Middle East, but also in the whole world."
Separately, on Wednesday at a Moscow economic forum, Putin minced no words, saying Russia was falsely blamed for the terrorist attack on UN humanitarian convoy vehicles near Aleppo last month.
"It was one of the terrorist groups," he explained. "And we know that…The Americans know it too, but prefer to take a different position…falsely accus(ing) Russia. This is not helping."
Convoy trucks and their cargo were attacked and destroyed from the ground. No Russian warplanes were present in the area at the time.
A US drone was monitoring the convoy so Washington knows neither Russia or Syria had anything to do with the attack.
"We are concerned with the deterioration of Russian/American relations," Putin added. Washington bears full responsibility.
Things are on a slippery slope toward direct confrontation with Hillary's almost certain ascension to power next year.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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