President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, said in an interview published on Thursday that he was open to any proposals by Russia to set up fresh military bases and increase the number of Russian troops in Syria.
Assad, currently in Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Russia’s military presence in Syria did not need to be temporary.
“We believe and welcome that if Russia has the desire to expand bases or boost their number, it is a technical or logistical problem. If there is such a desire, then we think expanding the Russian presence in Syria is a good thing…,” he was quoted as saying by Russia’s state RIA news agency.
Russia maintains a significant military presence in Syria. It has been a close ally of Assad, supporting his government in the country’s years-long civil war by launching strikes on opposition-held areas.
Russia’s military support for Assad has helped him turn the tide in the war, which began in 2011 as a pro-democracy movement.
The two nations plan to sign an agreement on economic cooperation in the coming weeks.