Russia sends navy vessels to Syria base - agencies

MOSCOW Fri Aug 3, 2012 6:54pm IST

Related Topics

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow is sending three large landing ships with marines aboard to a Russian naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus, Russian news agencies quoted a source in the general staff as saying on Friday.

The source said each ship would have up to 120 marines on board and that the vessels, already in the Mediterranean, would arrive in Tartus by the end of this week.

The source did not specify the goal of the mission, but Russia had earlier said it was preparing to send marines to Syria in case it needed to protect personnel and remove equipment from the naval maintenance facility.

Russia has a small maintenance and repair facility at Tartus, manned by fewer than 100 personnel, analysts say.

Syria is Moscow's firmest foothold in the Middle East. It buys many of its arms from Russia. Tartus is the Russian navy's only permanent warm water port outside the former Soviet Union.

The Russian Defence Ministry declined comment. The source said the ships would head back to the Russian port of Novorossiysk after spending several days in Tartus.

Russia has blamed the West for the failure of diplomatic efforts led by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, who resigned on Thursday. Moscow said it regretted his departure.

"He's an honest broker, but there are those who want to take him out of the game to untie hands for the use of force. It's already clear," Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov wrote in his Twitter microblog.

Russia and China have three times blocked Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria that were meant to put more pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

(Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Alistair Lyon)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Neclear Restart

Neclear Restart

Japan's Sendai nuclear restart in final stage: local governor.  Full Article 

Fight Unites

Fight Unites

Kurds' battle for Kobani unites a people divided by borders.  Full Article 

Railway Revamp

Railway Revamp

China to spend at least $33 bln on new railway lines.  Full Article 

Controversial Remark

Controversial Remark

Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves.  Full Article 

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle

Cook Speaks Up

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle.  Full Article 

Gas Deal

Gas Deal

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal.  Full Article 

Jerusalem Tensions

Jerusalem Tensions

Kerry urges restraint, expresses worry over tensions in Jerusalem.  Full Article 

Myanmar Roundtable

Myanmar Roundtable

Obama urges progress in Myanmar ahead of rare roundtable.  Full Article 

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

National Guard arrives in Hawaii town threatened by lava.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage