Russia intends to develop its naval base in Tartus, Syria

Russia intends to modernise its naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus, Chairman of the State of Duma’s Defence Committee, Vladimir Shamanov, announced today.

Speaking in an interview with Russia Today (RT), Shamanov said that the “Planned [modernisation] measures have already begun,” stressing that it is “strategically important” to Russia to establish a modern technical engineering and maintenance facility for the navy. He pointed out that the facility would benefit the Russian military fleet in Syria.

The Russian official explained that it may take five to seven years to complete the works.

”It will be gradually expanded, and the nearest perspective is from five to seven years. The exact terms will depend on many issues and, first of all, on the allocation of financial resources.”

Russia has had a naval maintenance and support facility in Tartus since 1977 and it is its only naval support base on the Mediterranean Sea.

The agreement between Russia and Syria on the expansion and upgrades of the Tartus maintenance facility was signed on 18 January. It is scheduled to be in effect for 49 years and to extend automatically for 25-year periods thereafter.

Under the deal, the Syrian harbour can receive 11 Russian warships at once, including the ships equipped with nuclear marine propulsion, provided that nuclear and environmental safety guidelines are respected.