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Russia plans to turn the Hmeymim base in Syria into a fully operational facility for its armed forces. The air base began operations in September 2015, when Russia started its counter-terrorist aerial campaign against Islamic State jihadists, as well as other affiliated radicals, in Syria.

The first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia’s parliament) said that “after an agreement on its legal status, Hmeymim will become a base of Russian armed forces, all the appropriate infrastructure will be built there and our servicemen will live in decent conditions”. He was interviewed by the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

According to Defenseworld.net, he added that a permanent contingent of Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) could be based at the airbase, located in the northwestern Syrian Latakia province.

“The VKS unit could be increased in accordance with bilateral agreements, but so far, from the perspective of tasks at hand, the forces currently deployed there [at Hmeymim] are enough,” Klintsevich said.

He stressed that nuclear weapons and heavy bombers will not be permanently deployed at the Hmeymim base in Syria as it is against international agreements.