Securing a place in the Middle East: Russian expansion of the airfield in Latakia

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Images of Russian expansion of the airbase in the town of Latakia on Syria’s coast has raised alarms bells in the US. While Russia claims the facility will be used to provide humanitarian aid for Syria, it makes no secret of its policy of arming the forces of Bashar Al-Assad. Is this the beginning of new and more lethal aggression by the Assad regime supported by Russia, or is the purpose of the airfield to provide cover for Assad’s forces to retreat to their ancestral home in Syria’s northwest?

Map of Syria showing control of terrain in Syria, Sept 14, 2015: Produced by the Syria team at the Institute for the Study of War

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