Putin Signed a Law to Deploy Russian Air Base in Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a federal law on the ratification of the protocol and agreement on the establishment of Syrian Army Air Force for a period of 49 years, TASS reported, citing Russia's official legal information portal.
The protocol includes the Khmeimim base, which was handed over to the Russians on 26 August 2015, and the treaty between Russia and Syria that was signed on January 18, 2017 in Damascus. The agency notes that the document aims to place a legal basis on Russia's military presence in the country. He also regulates Russian-Syrian military cooperation. Russia will have full jurisdiction over the territory of the airbase, as well as the Russian military personnel.
The protocol provides for the expiry of its initial 49-year term to be extended automatically by 25 years. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said four military police battalions were already deployed in security zones in Syria, the Associated Press reported.
Russia and Iran, backing Syrian President Bashar Assad, as well as Turkey, which backs Syrian militant militants, agreed in May a plan to create four security zones forbidding Syrian air force flights, BTA recalls. In this connection, Shoygu told Russian media that the four battalions were sent to the areas in question. Last week, the Chief of Staff of the Russian Army mentioned military police in just one area and did not report any other items, AP reminds. Russia supports the Syrian regime's offensive against the jihadist group Islamic State since 2015 and sent its first military battalion to Syria last December, the agency added.
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