MOSCOW – The Interfax news agency says two Russian navy ships are to sail to Syria to protect Russian citizens and its naval base there.
Interfax on Monday quoted an unidentified Russian navy official as saying that the Nikolai Filchenkov and Caesar Kunikov amphibious assault vessels will be heading to the Syrian port of Tartus, but didn't give a precise date.
The official said the ships will carry an unspecified number of marines to protect Russians in Syria and evacuate materials from Tartus if necessary. The Defense
Ministry had no immediate comment and the information could not be confirmed independently.
Tartus is Russia's only naval base outside the former Soviet Union. Russia has shielded Syria's regime from international sanctions over its crackdown on protests. It also continued to provide it with arms.