Russia is considering a slew of major commercial projects in Syria, a senior Russian official says.
Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov says after meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus that Russia will spend $500 million to modernize Syria’s commercial port of Tartus.
Borisov says in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that the four-year modernization program envisages an overhaul of the old port in Tartus and the construction of a new one.
He adds that there is also a plan to build a railway across Syria and Iraq that will link Syria’s Mediterranean coast with the Persian Gulf.
Russia has a Soviet-era naval base in Tartus, the only such facility outside the former Soviet Union.
In 2017, Moscow struck a deal with Assad’s government to extend its lease on Tartus for 49 years. The agreement allows Russia to keep up to 11 warships there, including nuclear-powered ones.