Assad visits Russian air base in rare sortie out of Damascus

BEIRUT (Reuters) Syrian President Bashar Assad visited a Russian air base at Hmeymim in western Syria on Tuesday, his first visit to the base from which Russian jets have supported his war effort.

Photos circulated showed the Syrian leader in the cockpit of a Russian Sukhoi SU-35 warplane, and inspecting weapons, personnel and armored vehicles at the base near Latakia.

He was accompanied by Russian chief of staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, state news agency SANA reported.

The base has been at the heart of Moscow’s military effort in support of Assad since 2015, when the Russian air force began bombing insurgents who were threatening his grip on power. Assad has also been backed in the war by Iran.

Assad has been touring areas north and northwest of Damascus in recent days, a rare trip out of his seat of power in the capital that has reflected his confidence, with his military position seemingly unassailable in western Syria.

On Sunday, he performed Eid prayers in the city of Hama, the first time he has visited the city since the start of the conflict. Assad has also visited wounded soldiers in the Hama countryside, accompanied by his wife, Asma, and children, state media reported on Tuesday.

Source: News Now/ SANA/Reuters

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About Cholo Brooks 12191 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.