Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a new military aid package worth more than $2 billion in the first major arms deal between the two countries.
Putin’s deal is the first time Russia has agreed to buy the weaponry from Damascus since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March, after pro-Moscow rebels seized the region.
The deal with the Syrian army is seen as a response to the Syrian government’s advances against opposition forces, including Russian-backed rebels in the east.
Putin said the military equipment would be used in the fight against Islamic State militants.
The announcement came as Moscow, the main backer of the Syrian regime, said it had agreed to pay $2.4 billion to buy arms and ammunition for the Syrian military and the government’s elite special forces.
The military deal with Russia is a big boost for the Kremlin’s efforts to stem the flow of arms to the rebels, which has helped to make Syria the world’s most-wanted country.
Russia and Iran have been accused of supporting the rebels since the start of the war in 2011.
The United States has accused Russia of arming the Syrian rebels.
Russia denies it.