Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed on Friday two ministries to hold talks on getting additional property in Syria.

Russian defense and foreign ministries will negotiate with the Syrian side the transfer of additional ground and water area under the lease agreement, authorizing Russia to use the naval facility at Tartus and airbase Hmeimim for 49 years on a free-of-charge basis, says a document, published on an official website.

“Accept the proposal of the government of the Russian Federation to sign Protocol No. 1 to the agreement between the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic on the deployment of an aviation group of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic dated Aug. 26, 2015 on the transfer of additional ground and water areas,” the document said.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

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