Russian lawmakers approved an agreement to expand the Tartus naval refueling facility in Syria into a fully-fledged naval base capable of harboring nuclear-powered ships, following the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria.

The deal was submitted to the lower house of the Russian parliament – the Duma – by the president on December 13.

The agreement will be in force for 49 years, granting the Russian Navy access to territorial waters and various ports of the Syrian Arab Republic. The territory of the facility can be expanded up to 24 hectares, according to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov, and the base will be able to accept up to 11 ships at once, including nuclear-powered vessels.

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