On December 21, the Russian Parliament ratified an agreement with Syria to expand the Russian naval facility in the country’s port of Tartus.
The agreement was signed in January and was sent by Russian President Vladimir Putin for ratification by the parliament’s lower house last week.
The agreement is valid for 49 years and allows the expansion and modernization of the facility used by the Russian Navy. A maximum of 11 Russian warships including nuclear-powered vessels can be deployed at Tartus at any given time under the deal.
“The agreement allows the expansion of the naval facility to 24 hectares free of charge,” Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said on presenting the deal to the parliament, according to Russian media.
Earlier in December, the Russian president ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. The country will keep a naval and an air base in Syria capable of carrying out strikes against militants if required after a partial military pull-out.