Russia has begun establishing a permanent presence at its military bases in Tartus and Hemeimeem in Syria, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday.
“Last week the Commander-in-Chief approved the structure and the bases in Tartus and in Hemeimeem. We have begun forming a permanent presence there,” he said.
The Federation Council — Russian parliament’s upper house — has reviewed a document that suggests upgrading Tartus naval supply facility to a full naval base.
The document determines procedures for the entry of Russian warships into Syrian ports, their registration and movement of military equipment. It would allow up to 11 Russian warships, including nuclear-powered ones to stay in Tartus.
Expenditures for expanding the base will amount to 3.2 billion rubles ($55.4 million) a year. The agreement is valid for 49 years with a possibility of its automatic extension for 25-year periods.
During his visit to the Hemeimeem base on Dec. 11, President Vladimir Putin said Russia will keep the air base as well as a naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus.