Putin approves deployment of Russian air group in Syria

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed a protocol on the deployment of a Russian combat air group in Syria signed earlier between the two countries.

According to a statement by the Kremlin, President Putin ratified “the protocol on the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic on the deployment of the air group of the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic which was signed in Damascus on January 18, 2017.”

Head of the Defense Committee at Duma council Vladimir Shamanov has said that the ratification of this protocol will contribute to achieving stability in the entire region.

Last week, the Russian Council of the Federation (Senators) ratified the protocol on the deployment of the Russian Armed Forces aviation group in Syria.

The Council of the Federation endorsed the protocol after the lower house, the State Duma, ratified.

The protocol was signed in Damascus on January 18, 2017, and "is aimed at establishing the international legal framework regulating the conditions for the presence of the Russian air group in Syria and boosting the defense potential of Russia and Syria proceeding from the parties’ mutual desire to strengthen and develop military cooperation."

The protocol envisages, in particular, that to deploy the air group, Syria will transfer to Russia for free use, the plot of land on the Hmeymim airfield and all its movable and immovable assets located there.

In addition, the protocol’s provisions regulate Russia’s jurisdiction in the area where the air group is located, and matters pertaining to its personnel, military servicemen’s families and civilian personnel. It sets forth the immunities and privileges, a procedure for cooperation on matters of jurisdiction and provision of legal assistance in civil, criminal and administrative cases.

The protocol states that the agreement will be valid for 49 years and will be automatically extended for subsequent 25-year periods.

Since September 30, 2015, Russia has been conducting successful airstrikes against ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria at the Syrian government’s request. The US and its allies have also been carrying out airstrikes in Syria purportedly against ISIS positions since September 2014.

The Syrian government says that the US airstrikes usually target the country's infrastructure and have done little to stop the advances of terrorists.

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