Moscow: Russia's parliament on Friday ratified an agreement to write off nearly three-quarters of Syria's roughly US$14 billion (€9 billion) debt from the Soviet era.

The State Duma, the lower house, registered its approval of the 2005 deal and a 2007 supplement in a 401-40 vote.

According to the law passed by the Duma, Russia is writing off 73 percent of the debt. Part of the remaining US$3.6 billion (€2.3 billion) is to paid in a single sum and part over a decade.

Russia has written off large portions of Soviet-era debts owed by several Middle Eastern nations - much of it for military equipment - as it has moved to bolster relations in recent years.