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Russian-Syrian agreement on Tartus base under preparation — senator

Russia's deputy defense minister announced on October 10 that Russia planned to have its permanent naval base at Tartus

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. The work on concluding the Russian-Syrian agreement on Russia’s naval base in Tartus continues, Head of the Defense and Security Committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament Viktor Ozerov said on Thursday.

The senator thus answered TASS’s question about the time limits of signing the Tartus deal. "The work is going on and we’ll hardly make any delay with the signing. The agreement is being prepared," Ozerov said.

In turn, member of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Olga Kovitidi said that Russia’s naval maintenance center at the port of Tartus had been operational in Syria since 1971.

"This agreement is of purely technical nature because we haven’t come there unexpectedly and our base has been in existence in Syria for several decades," she said, adding that the signing of the deal was primarily meeting the interests of the Syrian people.

According to Kovitidi, during a visit of the Federation Council’s delegation to Syria last week, the senators visited both the Russian military base at Hmeymim and the Tartus naval maintenance center. The parliamentarian also said that both military bases continued to be technically equipped at a high level.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said on October 10 that Russia planned to have its permanent naval base at Tartus.

According to the deputy defense minister, "the documents have been prepared and they are at the stage of inter-departmental approval," he said.

Tartus currently hosts a maintenance center for Russian naval ships. Also, the Hmeymim aerodrome in the province of Latakia hosts the Russian air task force.