On December 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin ratified an agreement to expand the Russian Naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus, as reported on Russia’s government website.
The agreement is valid for 49 years and will be automatically extended for successive 25-year periods unless one of the parties informs the other party about its intention to terminate it no less than one year before the expiration of a period.
The base in Tartus is being transferred to Russia at no cost. The Russians will have a complete immunity from the civil and administrative jurisdiction of Syria. Damascus has no right to requisition, search, or put a lien on the property. This immunity extends also to the facility’s personnel, its staff cannot be subject to arrest or detention in any form.
Russia may simultaneously deploy up to 11 warships in the naval facility, including those with nuclear propulsion, "provided that nuclear and environmental security is observed," the document says. It stipulates that Russia will guard the naval facility in Tartus from the sea and air, and Syria will provide land-based security.
On December 26, the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, approved a bill on the ratification of the agreement between Moscow and the Bashar Assad government on the deployment of Russian troops at the naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus.
Moscow, which is a longtime ally of Damascus, launched an air campaign in Syria in September 2015 to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
The Russian naval facility in Tartus is the only Russian naval base abroad. Moscow had previously reached an agreement with Damascus on the perpetual stationing of Russian military aircraft at the Khmeimim airbase in Latakia province at no charge.