MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. The Russian State Duma’s (lower house of parliament) Committee for International Affairs has recommended ratifying the Russian-Syrian agreement on the indefinite deployment of Russia Aerospace Forces group in Syria. It is suggested that this issue be reviewed at the lower house session on October 7.
The document was signed in Damascus on August 26, 2015, almost one year later, on August 9, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted it to the State Duma. The explanatory note to the agreement says that the Russian air group is being deployed on the Syrian territory at the request of Damascus. The group is stationed at the Hmeymim airbase in the Latakia province on a pro bono basis.
The Russian air group will be utilized based on its commander’s decision in accordance with the plans agreed on with Syrian authorities. The structure of the group is determined by Moscow.
"Armaments, ammunition, equipment and materials necessary for the fulfillment of appropriate tasks by the Russian air group, for ensuring security and vital functions of its personnel, are delivered to Syria without any charges or tariffs. Russian air group personnel freely cross the border, and are not subject to any checks by Syrian border control or customs authorities," the document noted.
According to the agreement, the Russian personnel and their family members are granted immunity similar to diplomatic, the protection of Russia’s property, archives and transport vehicles is also guaranteed.
"The agreement is sealed for an indefinite period of time and is temporarily in effect from the date of its signing," the explanatory note said.
The deployment of the Russian air group in Syria "is in line with the aims of maintaining peace and stability in the region," including in the sphere of fighting international terrorism, the Committee for International Affairs head Leonid Slutsky stated.
Russia launched its anti-terrorist operation in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian Aerospace Force is deployed at the Hmeimim airbase. In March 2016, President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of the air force group from Syria.