Damascus is set to lease Tartous seaport on the Mediterranean to Russia for 49 years, Russia’s deputy prime minister said following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,  Russia’s TASS reported this week. The 49-year lease for “economic uses” follows a 2017 deal that saw Moscow bag a 49-year extension for it’s naval base also at Tartous.

Staring down an estimated $400bn reconstruction of his country with little cash on hand (MEES, 22 December...