Russia and Turkey’s relation continues to deteriorate as Moscow refuses to relent on its efforts against Ankara. According to new reports, Russia is planning to build a military base near the Turkish border which some US officials see as a point of concern.
Russia is reportedly in the process of establishing an air base in northeastern Syria that is also near the Turkish border. According to CNN, U.S. officials claim that if Moscow pushes through with such then this may complicate things further.
“We don’t know what their intent is, but it is something we are watching closely,” one official told CNN. The official also cited the strained relations between Russia and Turkey after Ankara shot down one of Moscow’s warplanes. Another official said that Russia’s recent decision is “very curious.”
According to Fox News, several Russian military personnel and engineers have been spotted in a argely abandoned airfield in Qamishli. Defense officials believe that Russia may be planning to transform the airfield like Latakia. “This could be Latakia all over again,” added one of the officials.
Previously, Russian advisors and engineers were also spotted visiting Latakia. They were reportedly surveying the region before Russian transport planes and ships arrived and deposited thousands of Russian troops and supplies in September. Additionally, more than 30 Russian warplanes and scores of attack helicopters crowded Latakia.
“This is another example of the Russians [messing] with the Turks,” added another official observing the development. Although some experts think this is not a matter of extreme concern yet, they did note that it will be curious to see what Russia will be playing at with its new base. Tensions are already running high with Turkey and Russia previously made it clear that it will not forgive that warplane shooting that easily.
There are no indications yet that Russia has started developing the airfield. Western officials, however, think it is only a matter of time.