A newly published document reveals the details of the military cooperation deal between Russia and Syria, showing that the operation is open-ended, with either side able to cancel it only after giving the other side a year of advanced notice.
The document also shows Russian military forces were granted broad immunity, with Syria agreeing not to hold them responsible for damage done in airstrikes, and giving personnel legal immunity. It also forbids Syrian forces from entering Russian bases without permission or inspecting Russian shipments.
The immunity is largely in line with what the United States demands in its assorted open-ended engagements in places like Afghanistan, and might point to this being a much longer-term operation than anyone has yet admitted.
The document was signed August 26, Russian jets arrived in Syria in mid-September, and began airstrikes by the end of the month. At the time, Russian officials were suggesting the strikes would only last 3-4 months, a timetable that’s already passed.