Report: Russia Building Two New Military Bases in Syria

Satellite images show Russia is building weapons storage and military outpost, while US tries to find ways to work with Moscow.

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Matt Wanderman,

Vladimir Putin, Bashar Al-Assad
Vladimir Putin, Bashar Al-Assad
Reuters

Russia is building two new military bases on the Syrian coast, the Wall Street Journal reports. The information is based off of private satellite photographs.

The two sites believed to be a weapons storage facility and a military outpost near the city of Lattakia, the Alawite heartland of dictator Bashar al-Assad, and home to a sizable military force.

Analysts from the IHS Jane company say that "Military personnel would likely arrive at these two bases as part of the rapid expeditionary force buildup currently centered around Latakia."

A spokesperson from the Pentagon told reports that "we're keeping a very close eye on what we see moving in there." He added that the Pentagon believes "there may be an opportunity for the Russians to play a constructive role"

At the same time, US officials are trying to find ways to work together with Moscow in order to end the prolonged civil war in Syria. Senior officials say that President Barack Obama hopes to find a way to convince Assad to resign in favor of someone else from his Alawite sect.

Russia has been playing an increasingly active role in Syria, where its military and other support has already proven crucial in helping the regime weather a more than four-year-long rebellion.

But in recent weeks, as rebel forces began to seriously threaten Assad's eastern Alawite heartland, both Russia and Assad's staunchest backers Iran have reportedly send hundreds of troops to bolster flagging pro-regime fighters.