Russia Upping Control of Eastern Mediterranean With New Shipyard in Syria

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TARTOUS, Syria – Russia plans to build a naval yard in the Syrian port of Tartus, Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov said.

“We have a joint project for the construction of a naval workshop or a shipyard with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce directly in Tartus for the maintenance of vessels of various classes. The project is underway, a team assessing the situation already went to the scene,” Ivanov told the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

In Tartus there is already a logistics center for the Russian Navy, used by the permanent fleet of Russian Fleet ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

At the end of last year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia has begun to establish a permanent presence in the coastal town of Tartus and in Hmeymim in the neighboring province of Latakia.

The anti-aircraft defense of the Hmeymim base is carried out by advanced S-400 systems, while the S-300 ground-to-air missile systems, as well as the coastal defense systems equipped with Bastion cruise missiles, protect the Tartus base.

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This comes as Russian Foreign Ministry official Maria Zakharova said Thursday that the US military presence in Syria does not help but hampers the fight against terrorism in the country.

On December 12, the US special commissioner in the international coalition against ISIS, Brett McGurk, stated that today the US and its allies face difficulties in the fight against terrorists in the Syria.

The representative of the Russian chancellery emphasized that such statements seek to justify the illegal armed presence of the United States.

“According to Russian estimates, [the American presence] does not only negatively respond to the interests of the final elimination of international terrorists in Syria, but also becomes a real obstacle to that goal,” Maria Zakharova told a news conference.

Syria since March 2011 has been engaged in a conflict in which government troops are facing armed opposition factions and terrorist groups supported by the US.

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