President Assad inspects Russian weapons systems at the Hmeimim air base in western Syria.
Shortly after Washington warned Damascus against any more chemical attacks and stressed that Russia and Iran would also be held to account, Syrian ruler Bashar Assad’s visit to the Russian Hmeimim Air Base in Latakia on Tuesday, June 27, bears striking symbolic, if not provocative, significance. Their guest from Damascus was shown around the base by the commanders of Russian forces in Syria and allowed a close look at the warplanes and attack helicopters lined up for his perusal. Indeed, as debkafile’s military sources show in the series of attached photographs, Assad had his picture taken while sitting in the cockpit of a Russian fighter jet and while he was closely examining Russian S-400 and S-300 air defense missile batteries.
Not all the photos showed the base neatly prepared for a formal visit. A group of Russian troops were seen in a variety of work clothes standing untidily around some of the weapons systems, indicating that Assad’s visit was improvised in a hurry as an attempt to show that Moscow and Damascus were as tight as ever and ready together to repel any American attack on Syrian military targets.
Assad sits in the cockpit of a Russian fighter jet.