Russia developing Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships in Syria
How Russia Is Turning Syria into a Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships (and Israel Is Worried), National Interest, Michael Peck, 18 Mar 17, During the 1970s, the Syrian naval base of Tartus became a major port servicing warships of the Soviet Union’s Fifth Mediterranean squadron.
The Soviet Union is gone, and so is Syria as a unified nation. But Russia is back, and it’s building up Tartus again as a naval base that can handle Russia’s largest nuclear-powered ships.
Already, Israel says the Tartus base is affecting its naval operations. U.S. and NATO operations could be next.
Under the forty-nine-year agreement inked late last year by Russia and Syria, “the maximum number of the Russian warships allowed at the Russian naval facility at one time is 11, including nuclear-powered warships, providing that nuclear and ecological security rules are observed,” according to Russia’s RT news site. Russia will also be allowed to expand port facilities to accommodate the vessels.
The specification allowing nuclear-powered warships means that Russia wants to be able to base in Syria large surface ships, namely Kirov-class nuclear-powered battle cruisers, as well as nuclear submarines.
In addition, the treaty allows “Russia is allowed to bring in and out any kind of ‘weaponry, ammunition, devices and materials’ to provide security for the facility staff, crew, and their families throughout the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic ‘without any duties or levies,’” according to RT.
Expansion of the port will take about five years, according to an anonymous source cited in Russia’s Sputnik News. “The source added that the works would focus on dredging operations to allow cruisers and even possibly aircraft carriers to use the facility’s infrastructure,” Sputnik News reported. “According to the source, Russia also needs to develop the facility’s ground infrastructure, through construction of canalization, electricity generation facilities and barracks for the servicemen.”
Sputnik News also listed other provisions of the agreement. These include:
• Russia will be responsible for sea and air security of the base, while Syria handles the land defenses.
• Russia can deploy “temporary mobile outposts” beyond the base, as long as they coordinate them with the Syrians.
• Russia can renovate the base at will, including underwater construction, and build offshore platforms.
• Upon Syrian request, Russia will send specialists to service Syrian warships, conduct search and rescue in Syrian waters, and organize the defense of Tartus.
• Syria agrees not to “make any objections related to the military activities of the base, which will also be beyond Damascus’ jurisdiction.”
• “Syria also pledges to solve any conflicts that may arise if a third party objects to the activities of the base.”
The Tartus deal is significant on several levels…… http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-russia-turning-syria-major-naval-base-nuclear-warships-19813
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