Russia’s Second Air Base in Syria to Host Iranian Squadrons as well

A second Russian air base in Syria should be up and running by January at Al-Shayarat military airport, east of Homs (see map),with fortified shelters which about 50 Russian war planes will share with the two Iranian air force squadrons, DEBKA Weekly’s military sources report.
Situated 125km inland from the first Russian air base at Khmeimim near Latakia, Al Shayarat will provide both air forces with a launching pad for missions in support of the Syrian-Iranian force advancing on ISIS-held Palmyra, 145 km (or 78nmi) away. Vladimir Putin attaches high importance to Palmyra as the gateway to the road for a combined assault to capture Raqqa, the Islamic State’s Syrian headquarters 167 km to the north of Shayarat, already severely damaged by Russian air bombardment.
The new base will enable Moscow to ramp up its air fleet in Syria to a total of 120 bombers and fighter jets, provide accommodation for command centers and living quarters for a Russian intelligence brigade. Like Khmeimim, a Spetsnaz Special Operations unit will guard the new base against rebel assault.

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