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Russia’s State Duma to ratify Syrian airbase agreement on October 7

October 05, 11:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The agreement allows Russia to bring to Syria all the weaponry, ammunition and materials the air force group will need, without duties or taxes
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© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

MOSCOW, October 5. /TASS/. Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Council has put the ratification of the agreement on the deployment of the Russian airbase in Syria on the draft agenda of the parliamentary session due on October 7. This information is available from the Duma’s electronic database.

The State Duma member Leonid Slutsky, set to be appointed the Head of the Committee for International Affairs, earlier had informed TASS that this would be the potential date.

The agreement that Russia’s president submitted to the State Duma on August 9, was signed between the Russian and Syrian defense ministries in Damascus on August 26, 2015. The agreement stresses that "the Russian aviation unit’s presence in Syria serves the purposes of maintaining peace and stability in the region, it is purely defensive and is not aimed at other countries."

The document stipulates that the Russian air force group will be deployed at the Hmeimim airfield in the Latakia province on a pro bono basis. The group will be used by its commander’s decision according to the plans agreed on with Syrian authorities. Moscow and Damascus will also have to agree on the structure of the air force group. The period of the agreement has not been defined, both parties have been granted the right to terminate the agreement provided the other party is given a written notice. Should this be the case, the application of the document would be terminated when the one-year period after giving the notice has expired.

The agreement also says that Russia has the right to bring to Syria all the weaponry, ammunition and materials the air force group will need, without duties or taxes. All the movable property at the airbase, as well as temporarily deployed facilities, is recognized as Russia’s property. The personnel are granted the right to cross the border carrying only the documents needed to depart from Russia, and are not subject to any inspection at the Syrian border.

Russia launched its anti-terrorist operation in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian airspace unit is deployed at the Hmeimim airbase. In March 2016, President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of the air force group from Syria.

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