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Russia does not need another air base in Syria — defense ministry

Practically all aircraft based at the Hmeimim air base have a range long enough to reach any point of Syria

HMEIMIM, May 4. /TASS/. Having another base in Syria would not be economically feasible for the Russian Aerospace Forces, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.

"There’s absolutely no need for that. This is not expedient even economically," Konashenkov told the media in reply to a question.

He explained that practically all aircraft based at Hmeimim had a range long enough to reach any point of Syria. The air facility is totally self-reliant. All crucial supplies, such as fuel, ammunition and other items are delivered from Russia. Planes and helicopters undergo all maintenance and repairs locally.

Asked about the current situation in Syria, Konashenkov said that terrorist groups in that country had suffered considerable damage.

"This is clear to the naked eye," he remarked. "Just seven months ago the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) were literally devouring Syrian territory, seizing one community after another. Today more than 500 localities have been recaptured from the terrorist groups by the Syrian army and the patriotically-minded opposition. That’s thousands of square kilometers," he said.

Konashenkov said heavy strikes had been dealt against the terrorists’ ammunition warehouses in Syria.

"The strikes against training camps and financial sources were serious, too," he added.

By now the Syrian army has liberated nearly the whole of Latakia province, a greater part of Hama province, and also Homs, Damascus, and the area of Palmyra," Konashenkov said. "At the moment Syrian troops are fighting the enemy in the area of Arak."

He recalled that the liberation of Palmyra drove a wedge between the northeastern and northern groups of the Islamic State.

"Certainly, today there’s nothing like the freedom of movement about Syrian territory by truck convoys of hundreds of vehicles the terrorists enjoyed in the past," Konashenkov said.