BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:45 A.M.) – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree authorizing the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs to conduct negotiations with the Syrian government with the view of handing over of installations and additional marine areas in Syria.

In the decree published on the official portal of legal information on Friday, Putin agreed to the Russian government’s proposal to sign Protocol No. 1 on “the delivery of immovable property and additional marine areas” to the agreement concluded in August 2015 between Moscow and Damascus regarding the deployment of a group of the Russian Air Force in Syria.

The decree was entrusted to the Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “to conduct negotiations with the Syrian side, and to sign it upon reaching an agreement between the two sides on behalf of the Russian Federation.”

The decree allows the two ministries to introduce “changes not of an initial nature” in the draft protocol that the Russian government has ratified.

The Russian military currently controls several bases in Syria, including the Hmeimim Airbase and Tartous Naval Base.

Most recently, the Russian military has taken over a part of the Qamishli International Airport, which officially gives them access to eastern Syria.

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