11:55 Oct. 12, 2016
Upper Chamber approves 'endless presence' of Russian air force at Syrian base, requested by Damascus
The Upper Chamber of the Russian Parliament, the Federation Council, has ratified an agreement, struck between the Kremlin and Damascus, that allows Moscow's air force to be stationed at the Khmeimim air base in Syria indefinitely.
The ratification was supported by 158 members of the Chamber, with one abstaining, Russian news agency Interfax reports, saying the presence of the Russian aircraft in Syria was requested by Damascus.
According to the deal, Russia is allowed to use the Khmeimim base and its infrastructure ‘free-of-charge'. In addition, Moscow's personnel and ammunition, needed for the air force, can enter Syria unchecked by the country's border patrols and customs service.
Syria has also agreed not to file any lawsuit against Russia, its air force and servicemen, if it ever comes to it.
Russian military operation in Syria started on September 30, 2015. The Kremlin has conducted multiple air strikes in the country since then, saying it only targets terrorists.
The West, in turn, has repeatedly accused Moscow of killing those, opposing the country's leader Bashar al-Assad, who is often called a bloody dictator.