Russian pilots
SU-30SM pilots salute before the start of their mission from Latakia air base, Syria.Videograb/Twitter/Murad Gazdiev

Russia is reportedly building a news airstrip in its military base in Latakia as part of its plan to significantly increase its daily air raids against the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria, reports said.

Recent reports have indicated that Russia now wants to carry out 200 to 300 air strikes daily on Isis targets from its present 50 missions.

Moscow is currently using a once abandoned airfield in Latakia for its operations against Isis in Syria.

According to Russia Today, the Khmeimim airbase in Latakia is capable of handling the Russian super-jumbo Antonov An-124 Ruslan and Tupolev Tu-76 transport aircraft. Besides, the airfield also has bays for holding more than 50 military aircrafts.

According to CNN, Russia has about 30 strike aircraft at Hmeymim airbase near Latakia - with Su-24M Fencer and Su-25 Frogfoot being the main workhorses.  

If reports from Syria are to be believed, then the building of a new airstrip is part of a bigger Russian agenda to form a full-fledged Russian military base in the Syrian province of Latakia.

Recently, the governor of Latakia Ibrahim Salim told Russian journalists that the formation of a  "full-fledged Russian military base" in the region will make Syrian feel safe. Latakia currently is home to half a million displaced Syrians from Raqqa, Idlib, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor.

According to Sputnik, the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation, Andrey Kartapolov, indicated a similar plan, when he said that Russia does not exclude a possibility that a military base in Syria connected through sea, air and land will be established one day.

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