Russia Establishing Airbase in Central Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia has started setting up an airbase near T4 military airport in Homs province in Central Syria to deploy advanced air defense units following delivery of S300 air defense systems to Damascus, a militant-affiliated news website reported on Monday.

Zaman al-Vasl news website reported that the Russian army’s engineering units have started constructing a military base West of T4 airbase in Homs province since mid-October.

It further said that Russia will probably deploy modern air defense batteries in its under-construction base, meantime, quoting some other sources as reporting that Russian is likely to deploy S300 air defense system at the base.

Zaman al-Vasl went on to say that Russia’s move to set up the base is aimed at protecting its military units in T4 and al-Sho’eirat airports and also Syrian Army’s units and facilities. Russia had already reported that delivery of S300 to the Syrian army air defense units deployed in Tartous has been completed.

Several flight tracking services reported on Saturday that a Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft of the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) conducted a flight over the territories of Israel and Jordan, near the Syrian border.

A RAF aircraft with the number ZZ666 took off from Souda Bay Air Base on Crete, flew along the Southern border of the Arab Republic and then returned to the air base via the same path.

Improved versions of the S-300 air defense systems were supplied to Syria by Moscow following a lethal incident near Lattakia province, when a Russian recon jet was accidently downed by Syrian air defenses repelling an Israeli air raid.

This is the second time this week that the RAF has flown aircraft near the Syrian border. The previous time, RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance and Sentinel R.1 ground surveillance planes flew a similar path on October 16.

The RC-135W Rivet Joint is capable of detecting emissions produced by radars and thus discovering the locations of enemy air defenses.