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Russian air base in Syria useful for long-range attacks on terrorists - minister

August 14, 17:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"Syria, like a magnet, attracts arms supplies absolutely from all territories," Sergei Shoigu said
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©  Valery Sharifulin / TASS

MOSCOW, August 14. /TASS/. With an air base in Syria Russia may fight terrorists in peripheral attacks, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with the Vesti television program on Sunday.

"We need that base in order to fight those bandits in peripheral attacks," he said. "Syria, like a magnet, attracts arms supplies absolutely from all territories. I am using "absolutely" quite intently, as I know what I am speaking about."

Shoigu said the words said by Vladimir Putin about many compatriots in Syria both from Russia and from the CIS countries are especially important now.

News of the August 2015 agreement between Russia and Syria came in January 2016. The Russian government approved the document late July, and the president has introduced it to the State Duma. Russian and Syrian defense authorities inked the agreement in Damascus on August 26, 2015.

The Russian Aerospace Force’s (RusAF) operation in Syria commenced on September 30 last year. Under the agreement signed in Damascus, the Russian Air Force’s task force in Syria "is in keeping with upholding peace and stability in the region, is of defensive nature and is not aimed at other states"; rather, it is designed for cooperating in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

The agreement is permanent. It allows Russia to bring to and from the Syrian Arab Republic any weapons, ammunition, equipment and materials relevant to the air task force’s missions, security and wellbeing. No taxes, duties or indirect taxes shall be levied on Russia. Actually, the agreement entitled Russia to use the Hmeymim air base in Latakia free of charge and forever. In addition, Syria assumed any possible future claims by third parties in case of damage resultant from the operations of the Russian air task force.

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