The Russian military has started forming a permanent force at the Tartus naval facility and the Hmeymim airbase in Syria, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced on December 26.
“Last week, the supreme commander-in-chief approved the structure and the personnel strength of the Tartus and Hmeymim bases. We have started forming a permanent grouping there,” the minister said, according to the Russian state-run news agency TASS.
The formation of the permanent force came after Russian President Putin ordered the forces pullout from the country on December 11. Shoigu reported to Putin on December 22 that his order had been fulfilled.
According to pro-government sources, Russia is now transforming its military presence in Syria in order to participate in the final stage of counter-terrorism operation in the country.