Russia's less-than-transparent intentions in Syria could put a damper on Turkey's very clear desire to establish a safe zone north of Aleppo. Although official Syria has been silent, local sources say it appears Russia aims to establish its first military air base in the region, and there are unofficial reports that the harbor of Tartus might be extended. Such changes could alter the regional balance of power.
"Syria has completely redone Latakia airport," journalist Thierry Meyssan, who writes for Al Watan, told Al-Monitor in an email. "The ground was leveled. A new runway was built for Russian aircraft. Sheds have been installed to house the aircrafts." Meyssan said workers also are building housing.