Agreement on 2 bases follows agreement for wider withdrawal of Russian troops.
The announcement by Sergey Shoigu follows President Vladimir Putin’s order for Russian forces to begin withdrawing from Syria but to maintain a foothold at Tartus naval base and the military airport at Khmeimim.
“Last week, the supreme commander-in-chief approved the structure and the personnel strength of the Tartus and Khmeimim bases.” Shoigu said, according to official news agency TASS. “We have started forming a permanent grouping there.”
As well as the two bases, Russia will also maintain three military police battalions and a reconciliation center in Syria.
Last week, the State Duma -- Russia’s lower house of parliament -- ratified a deal with Bashar al-Assad’s regime to expand the Mediterranean naval facility at Tartus.
According to the document, Russian vessels, including nuclear-powered cruisers, will be allowed to enter Syrian waters and ports.