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Avvenire - Italy | Friday, September 11, 2015

Putin wants access to the Mediterranean

Moscow wants to do more than just support the Syrian ruler, the Catholic daily Avvenire warns: "Putin's intentions are often inscrutable. But this time they seem clear: the Syrian coast and its hinterland - the coastal strip where the strategic port of Tartus lies and where since 1971 Moscow has its only marine base in the Mediterranean - will no doubt soon become the fortress to which Assad retreats. ... This is where Assad, should he manage to stay in power, will transfer his regime. Under Russian protection of course, since Moscow is Damascus's traditional ally and is ready to set up an enclave with its navy in the Mediterranean. It is the same strategy Putin used to annex the Crimea over a year ago and with which he took over the port of Sevastopol, the Russian navy's main base on the Black Sea."

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