MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law on the ratification of an agreement between Russia and Syria on expanding the naval facility near the port city of Tartus, making it a full-fledged naval base. The document, which was adopted by the State Duma on December 21 and approved by the Federation Council on December 26, was published on the official web portal of legal information.
According to the document, Russia’s vessels, including nuclear-powered cruisers, will be allowed to enter Syria’s waters and ports. The Russian Navy will use the base infrastructure on a free-of-charge basis for 49 years. The agreement could be extended if both parties agree. The personnel and crew members will enjoy immunity and fall within the jurisdiction of the Russian side.
Russia will be able to deploy up to 11 warships to the facility, including nuclear-powered vessels.
Representatives of the Syrian authorities shall not visit the facility without consent of its commander. Besides, Russian transport vehicles and sea and air vessels at the Tartus base shall enjoy immunity against inspection, search, requisition, arrest and other coercive actions. The property of the facility is inviolable.
Head of the Federation Council's defense and security committee and former commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Viktor Bondarev said both Russia and Syria will benefit from the Tartus base. "We will be able to ensure security in the region and strategic deterrence, what meets the interests of Syria and other countries in the Middle East and simultaneously enhance Russia’s positions in the Mediterranean Sea," the senator said.