Russia carriers seen docking in Syria by 2013

World Tribune (Link) (August 3, 2010)

Russia is proceeding with plans to enable major warships to anchor in Syria.

Officials said the Russian Navy has overseen a project to expand its facilities in Syria. They said the effort was meant to allow aircraft carriers and missile cruisers to anchor in the Syrian port of Tartous by 2013.

�Tartous will be developed as a naval base,� Russian Navy commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said.

In remarks made on Aug. 2, Vysotsky said the modernization of the Tartous project would enable the Russian Navy to supply logistics and maintenance services in the eastern Mediterranean. He said the Syrian port would eventually be able to accommodate a range of heavy warships, including aircraft carriers.

�The first stage of development and modernization will be completed in 2012,� Vysotsky said.

Officials said Russia has sought to expand its military presence in Syria, a major ally during the Cold War. They said Tartous as well Latakia required a major upgrade as part of Moscow�s efforts to increase naval patrols in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf.

More than 50 Russian Navy personnel have been stationed in Tartous under a 1971 agreement. Officials said only one of the port�s three floating piers was regarded as operational.

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