Russia expands presence in Syria

The Israeli website DEBKAfile, specializing in military intelligence, published a report that Russia started the construction of a new military base in the South-East of Syria in the village of Khirbet RAS al-Vaara. This town is near the Syrian-Iraqi border, thus Russia for the first time since the beginning of the military intervention in September 2015, intends to expand its presence in Syria, which in the past was limited to the Western part along the Mediterranean coast.

As the authors of the publication, the new base will allow Russia to control the South-Eastern region of Syria and its borders, for control over which fighting groups backed by the U.S. armed forces and those who support Iran. They point to the fact that the Russian troops will be closer to the Israeli border than ever. They will be in 85 kilometers from the center of the Golan heights and 110 kilometers away from their South end, and means located relatively close to the positions of the Israeli army.


As explained in the publication, the new strategic base of Russia will be at a distance of 96 kilometers from the Northern part of Jordan and 185 kilometers from the locations of American and Jordanian troops, which are at the intersection of district At-Tanvi near the common border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

In the same context, the authors reported that the base, which is located 50 kilometers from Damascus, will facilitate the task of support of the Syrian army, as it will provide it with access to strategic routes linking the East and South Syria with the capital. It is noted that the start of construction coincided with the resumption of us-Russian talks in Amman.

The source confirmed that the United States, Russia and Jordan failed to reach agreement on the creation of a demilitarized zone in the South-Eastern region of Syria, covering the Israeli-Jordanian border. According to the source, Moscow has put forward a plan consisting of 3 parts, to ease tensions in this region:

1. US forces continue to monitor the area of At-Tangy and in exchange, must agree to control the town of Abu Kamal on the border with Iraq are Iranian and Syrian military in conjunction with Hezbollah.

2. Later Moscow provides the Iranian soldiers and militants supported by Iran and Hizbollah of the South-Eastern Syria.

3. Formed joint Russian-American management for day-to-day events in the South-Eastern region of Syria, including in the towns adjacent to the Israeli and Jordanian borders.

In turn, the site States that Washington did not support the Russian plan for two reasons:

1. The establishment of the Syrian army control over the town of Abu Kamal will strengthen the power of Iran in the areas on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

2. The US want the Iranian military and Hezbollah have gone from Syrian territory before taken any steps on the American side, and not after, as foreseen in the Russian plan. However, until Russia has shown willingness to make concessions on this issue.