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Syria says would welcome Russian military base: Envoy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad. ©AP

Syria’s ambassador to Russia says Damascus will welcome the setting up of a Russian military base in Syria if Moscow decides to build one there.

Riad Haddad said on Wednesday that the construction of another Russian military base on the territory of the Arab country would be aimed at countering terrorism in Syria.

"If Russia agrees, Syria would only welcome such a step, because it would be aimed against terrorism on our soil," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Haddad as saying.

Russia currently has a naval base in the Syrian port city of Latakia, where it is beefing up its military presence. The activities are seen by some as preparation for the deployment of Russian ground forces to Syria.

The United States and its allies have been accusing Moscow of a military buildup in Syria; a claim denied by the Kremlin.

Russian military officials have emphasized that Moscow is not building an airbase in Syria although such possibility may arise in the future. Moscow has also added that it is ready to consider any request from the Syrian government for the dispatch of ground and air forces to the Arab country, in a bid to help it in its battle against the foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists.

Damascus has also reiterated that it would not hesitate to ask for the deployment of Russian forces to Syria if need be.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Washington has become more amenable to Moscow’s position on the ongoing conflict in Syria.

“I think that now the Americans are much more perceptive to the arguments we have been offering for the past several years,” he said.

However, officials in the US State Department have disputed the claim and say Washington’s position on Syria has not changed.

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