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Putin Signs Deal Cementing Russia's Long-Term Military Presence In Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sits inside a Sukhoi Su-27 jet during his visit to the Russian air base at Hmeimim on June 27.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Moscow to keep its air base in Syria for 49 years with "a possibility to automatically extend the agreement to 25-year periods."

The document signed on July 27 was placed on the Kremlin's website.

The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmemim Air Base near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, which it has used to carry out air strikes since 2015 against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad.

Both chambers of Russia's parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council, approved the deal earlier in July.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in October that it was working to make its Syrian naval station at the port of Tartus a permanent base.

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