(JNS.org) Russia is in the process of building two additional military bases in Syria, new satellite imagery has revealed. According to satellite photographs provided by IHS Jane’s, a defense intelligence group, to the Wall Street Journal, Russia is developing a weapons depot and military facility north of Latakia, along the Syrian coast. Meanwhile, as Russia increases its support for the Syrian government, a report in Lebanon’s Daily Star says that Hezbollah will shift towards a more defensive role in the Syrian civil war. The Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group says that it will pull back after capturing the town of Zabadani, the last rebel-held village in the mountainous border region west of Damascus. Hezbollah has played a key role in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
At the same time, the heads of the Israeli and Russian militaries met for the first time Monday, Sept. 21, as the two countries announced further joint coordination of their Syria-related activities. Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot met with Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army General Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov following a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the Netanyahu-Putin meeting, the two nations agreed to form a “joint mechanism” in order to prevent any potential clashes between Israeli and Russian forces in Syria. An Israeli source said both sides agreed to coordinate in “air, naval, and electromagnetic areas,” and that the first joint working group between the two militaries will meet in two weeks, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Israel has become increasingly concerned about the activity of Iran and its proxy – the Hezbollah terrorist group – in Syria, while Russia has been moving to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his fight against the Islamic State terrorist organization and other rebel groups.