Russia Deploying Marines to Syria to Guard Base

Russia has announced that it will deploy marines to Syria's Latakia region, where they will guard the airfield currently being used by the Russian Air Force units performing airstrikes in the country, the Ministry of Defence spokesman Igor Konashenkov told news agency Interfax.

The Latakia airfield is held by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and is temporarily being used by the Russian military, as Moscow enters its third day of bombing various factions involved in the Syrian civil war. Russia has a permanent resupply facility at the naval port in Tartus, further south of the airfield.

"Our airbase will be entirely reinforced by technical equipment of the Russian Federation," Konashenkov said. "Local authorities are supporting us by supplying the base with fruit and vegetables."

Konashenkov announcement appears to partly confirm claims made by unnamed sources in the Ministry of Defence, reported by Interfax on Thursday morning, that Russia will be deploying soldiers to Syria, albeit to perform guard duty and not for combat duties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied that Russia will send ground troops to take part in combat in Syria, alongside the airstrikes.

On Friday, Konashenkov told press in Moscow that Russia's Air Force had performed 10 flyovers overnight on Thursday, meaning that 18 flyovers were completed in total yesterday. He said that Russia had targeted 12 ISIS sites in total and reported that the strikes had hit a communications center in Dar Taazza, in the province of Aleppo, as well as a training camp in Maaret al-Nuuman, in Idlib province.

The Russian Ministry of Defence reported on Thursday that it has sent over 50 planes and combat helicopters to Syria to perform airstrikes.

Russia Deploying Marines to Syria to Guard Base |