Russia’s defense ministry said Monday that the country was poised to transform its naval facility in the Syrian port city of Tartus into a permanent base.
“In Syria we will have a permanent naval base in Tartus,” Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov as saying.
The announcement represents the latest move by Moscow to bolster its forces in Syria as tensions with the West have surged over Russia’s bombing campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
The defense ministry said last week it had deployed its S-300 air defense missile system to Tartus and warned Washington it would halt any attempted US strikes in Syria.
Moscow also sent three missile ships to reinforce its naval forces off the coast of the conflict-wracked nation.
Pankov did not provide a timeline for turning the Tartus naval facility — which dates back to the Soviet era — into a permanent base.
He said the main purpose of the S-300s was to protect the Tartus naval facility.
Tensions have soared since Washington pulled the plug on talks with Moscow aimed at reviving a Syria truce deal, citing Russia’s brutal bombing campaign.