The defense Ministry plans to create in Syria another, except Hamim air base, a military base in Tartus for the deployment of permanent forces of the Russian Navy. As stated Monday, speaking in the Federation Council, Deputy Minister of defense Nikolai Pankov, the “relevant documents have been prepared, they undergo the procedure of interdepartmental coordination. The degree of readiness is quite high, and we hope that soon we will ask you to ratify these documents.”
These plans of the Ministry of defense, the senators immediately expressed support. So the first Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on security and defense Franz Klintsevich said that the chamber is ready to promptly ratify the agreement with Syria. The upper house member Igor Morozov said that the decision will lead to an increase in the number of ships of the Russian Navy in the region, which will increase the military potential of Russia in the middle East and the Mediterranean. And the head of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Leonid Slutsky, in turn, noted that the base in Tartus will enable system control of anti-aircraft and anti-submarine defense, not only ships and marinas.
Tartus is the second largest port city in Syria after Latakia. It is located 220 kilometers North-West of Damascus. In 1971, the Soviet Union and Syria signed an agreement on the deployment of a point of logistics (e & p) of our Navy, which has existed there since 1977 to the present.
Initially his task was to repair ships, fuel, water and supplies in vessels of the 5th Mediterranean operational squadron. In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Mediterranean squadron was disbanded, but the point of security in Syria, and during occasional trips to the Mediterranean sea the ships of the Russian Navy continued to call at Tartus to replenish stocks of fuel and food.
For a long time Tartu e & p consisted of several floating piers PM-61M, storage facilities, barracks, various outbuildings and replaceable flowmasters black sea fleet. The facility has served about 50 sailors-contract employees, which were changed on a rotational basis every three months.
E & p in Tarusa from the very beginning was the only reference point for the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean and to give it no never going. Each of the commanders-in-chief of the Navy, whoever is appointed to this post and have always considered it my duty to convince various politicians and officials (and there were those who actively offered to abandon Tartus) in the necessity of existence of e & p in Syria. The arguments for this were selected the most different, especially because those who propose to close e & p in Tartus, was guided mainly by saving, not realizing the strategic value of this item.
For example, in 2012, Navy commander Vice-Admiral Viktor Chirkov, defending Tartus, insisted that “we need this base, it functioned and will function further” to “to provide Russian warships performing tasks in the Mediterranean sea, as well as a mission to fight pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian ocean”.
But by the summer of 2013 the theme of pirates faded into the background, as in June of this year in the Mediterranean sea was formed by the permanent operative connection of the Russian Navy, subordinate to commander of the black sea fleet, after which the need of Tartu e & p sharply risen.
Units guarding the object, with substantial reinforcements and new military equipment. The main tasks for security of the item was assigned to a battalion of Marines black sea fleet, the personnel of which consisted also of contract servicemen.
By September 2015, the facility served for about 1700 specialists and sailors. At the port in full swing, work began on clearing and deepening of the channel. For these purposes were involved kolektorna the black sea fleet ship KIL-158, and the necessary measurements conducted hydrographic vessel “Donuzlav”. Were actively working on strengthening plitical, updated part of the infrastructure of the port and after the completion of the e & p was able to receive ships of the second rank and the large vessels that, in General, significantly improved the logistical capabilities of the port
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of this port a year ago, when it was required in large quantity to deliver the goods, ammunition and weapons for Russian aviation groups participating in the war against the militants in Syria. Same here last week was delivered, which caused so much noise in Western media, the battery of anti-aircraft missile system s-300 for air defense of the naval base in Tartus, as well as ships of the operative connection of the Russian Navy located in the coastal area. Now part of this group in the Mediterranean serve up to ten warships and support vessels. Last week, in rotation they were joined by a small missile ships of “Green Vale”, “Serpukhov” and “Mirage”.
And therefore establishing a permanent Russian naval base in Syrian Tartus are caused by political and economic interests of Russia.
For a start about the economy.
The grouping of the Russian Navy located in the Mediterranean for the second year. E & p in Tartus was capable of simultaneously one or two of her ships to carry out minor repairs to replenish the water and food. For more serious problems at the end of combat watch, the ships had to return to Sevastopol and other ports of registry. Now they don’t have to spend material resources for such long crossings, as over time the base in Tartus will provide a complete cycle of services directly to the Mediterranean.
Now, regarding politics.
Many experts have noted that the statement of Nikolai Pankov about deploying a full-fledged base in Tartus came shortly after his own words in the state Duma that Moscow is considering the return of the military bases on the territories of Cuba and Vietnam, where Russian troops were present since the Soviet Union until 2002. And these words in turn as suggested by many experts, were the result of “leakage”, published in the American newspaper The Washington Post that military circles in Washington “growing support for kinetic operations against the Syrian regime,” which involves attacks on the runways of Syrian air force with cruise missiles and other weapon of distant radius of action.
Thus, we can conclude that Moscow makes it clear to Washington that now is not going, as it did before, to meet US, right good will, to abandon its military bases in foreign countries. This has not led to the expected retaliatory response from the USA. On the contrary, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty of 1972, and continues to encircle Russia from all sides with military bases of NATO. The Syrian crisis has finally broken all the masks with the American “partner”, but because Russia with their statements on the return of its military bases makes it clear that he’s going back to the days when our country was defending its own interests with the help of these bases on the distant approaches.
In addition, there is, in my opinion, and another, perhaps even more important aspect for the deployment of a full-fledged naval base in Tartus. I think that you need to take into account its geographical position, which is currently extremely important for the Russian Navy.
Let me remind you: the Bosporus and the Dardanelles are the links of the chain, closed connecting the Black sea with the Mediterranean open. Yes, international Convention suggests that the passage of commercial and military vessels through the Straits should be free. But Turkey, with whom we have no simple relationship, and that is the main regulator of traffic through the Bosphorus, and besides, another NATO country, is trying to use this situation to their advantage. But because Russia not only has the right to be allowed to create a situation where its Navy could be locked up in the Black sea. Base in Syrian Tartus eliminates this problem while creating a problem for the US Navy.