On December 21, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma ratified the Russian-Syrian agreement on expanding the territory of the base of Russian forces in Tartus. The document was presented to the deputies by the Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia, Nikolai Pankov.
Pankov explained that the agreement would allow for the expansion of the territory of the logistics center to 24 hectares.
Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a corresponding bill to the Russian parliament last week. The agreement, signed on January 18, 2017, will be in force for 49 years, with the possibility of automatically renewing it for 25 more years.
Franz Klintsevich, a deputy of the Federation Council of Russia expressed confidence that the upper house of parliament would probably adopt the document too when it convenes on December 26.
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to begin withdrawing "a significant part" of the forces from Syria.
Since 2014, the international coalition led by the United States has been fighting against radical Islamists in Syria. The coalition supports the forces of the Syrian moderate opposition.
The Russian military campaign in Syria began on September 30, 2015. The coalition has repeatedly accused Moscow of supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom Western countries are accusing of mass violations of human rights.
In March 2016, Putin ordered the "withdrawal of the main part of the military contingent" of Russia from Syria, however, after this announcement there were no signs of withdrawal.