Russia setting up permanent naval presence at Syrian bases

The Russian Navy will be establishing a permanent presence at its Syrian bases after a deal signed with Syria was ratified by the lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly.

According to Russian news outlet RIA, the bill – submitted earlier this month – was ratified on Tuesday.

In addition to the naval bases, the agreement on Russia’s use of military facilities in Syria includes the Khmeimim Air Base, south-east of the city of Latakia.

With a renewed access to the port of Tartus, which Russia plans to upgrade from a refueling facility to a permanent naval base, the Russian Navy will be able to have a permanent presence in the Mediterranean Sea.

According to a Sputnik report, Russian General Staff Chief Army General Valery Gerasimov said the Russian naval group would be permanently deployed in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea after the end of the military operation in Syria.

The agreement will provide Russian Navy ships access to Tartus, and other Syrian ports, for an additional 49 years.

After new piers are built and waterways dredged, the base is expected to be capable of simultaneously accommodating 11 vessels, including large surface combatants and the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.