State Duma Ratifies Expansion of Russia's Tartus Naval Facility in Syria Deal

© Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev / Go to the photo bankRussia's Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser makes port call in Tartus, Syria
Russia's Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser makes port call in Tartus, Syria - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian State Duma ratified on Thursday the agreement on the expansion of the Russian naval facility in the Syrian port city of Tartus.

According to the agreement, Russia may simultaneously deploy up to 11 warships, including nuclear-powered combat vessels, at the Tartus naval facility. Russia will carry out the seaborne and airborne protection of the base, while Syria will be responsible for the land security. Russia will be able to deploy temporary mobile outposts beyond the base, if coordinated with the Syrian side.

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The agreement also stipulates that Russia will have the right to renovate, rebuild or demolish the facility.

The document also regulates different legal issues, such as the status of personnel, members of their families, issues related to the criminal and administrative prosecution of the personnel and family members, as well as crew members for the crimes and offenses committed in Syria, and also issues related to the information protection.

READ MORE: Russia to Start Upgrading Tartus Facility in Syria for Hosting Aircraft Carriers

The agreement between Russia and Syria is supposed to be in force for 49 years and can be automatically prolonged for further 25-year periods. It is defensive in nature and is not directed against other countries.

On December 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted to the lower house of Russia's parliament a draft on ratification of the Russia-Syria agreement on expansion if the Russian naval facility in Syria signed in January.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups operating in the country, including the Daesh terrorist group. Over the past several months, as a result of the Syrian government forces' offensive, the terrorists have lost most of the territory they had occupied during the Daesh rampage across Syria and Iraq in 2014. According to the Russian Defense Ministry's data, over 90 percent of Syrian territory has already been liberated from militants with Moscow's aerial support. The international community, including Russia, has taken a number of steps aimed to settle the crisis, including via talks in Geneva and Astana.

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