Russia to build grain hub at Syria's Tartus port - Ifax

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Russia plans to build a grain hub at the Syrian port of Tartus in order to boost its presence on Middle East markets, the Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov as saying on Tuesday.

Construction of the necessary infrastructure at the port, which Russia rented out for 49 years from Syrian authorities in 2017, could begin next year, Borisov was quoted as saying.

The Russian Navy also operates a military facility at Tartus, Russia’s only naval foothold in the Mediterranean.

Moscow, which has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in an eight-year-long war, has previously said it plans to expand and modernise the port’s facilities for its fleet. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova Editing by Andrew Osborn)