Russia pulls out all military staff from Syria: report

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a media conference at the conclusion of the G8 summit at the Lough Erne resort near Enniskillen in Northern Ireland on 18 June 2013. (Photo: AFP - Matt Dunham)

Published Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Russia has withdrawn all its military personnel from Syria and left its strategic Tartus naval center unstaffed because of the escalating security threat in the war-torn country, the Vedomosti daily said Wednesday.

The respected business daily cited an unnamed source in the Russian defense ministry as saying that no Russian defense ministry military or civilian personnel were now present in Syria, a Soviet-era ally of Moscow.

The source said the decision was taken to limit the dangers posed to Russians amid a raging civil war and to reduce the threat of political damage that could result from Russians being killed by either side.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov had appeared to confirm the evacuation of military staff in an interview with the London-published Arabic-language daily al-Hayat published on Friday.

"Today, the Russian defense ministry does not have a single person in Syria," he said.

"In Tartus, we never had a base in the first place. It is a technical facility for maintaining ships sailing in the Mediterranean," he added.

The facility in the Mediterranean port of Tartus is Russia's only such asset outside the former Soviet Union.

Created as the result of an agreement between Damascus and Moscow in 1971, the Tartus facility was believed in recent months to have been staffed by just a few dozen Russian defense ministry personnel.

The Vedomosti report said the decision to remove defense ministry personnel did not cover technical experts who are hired by the Syrian government to help train its army to use Russian-issued weapons.

Russia supplies ground-to-surface interceptor missiles to Syria, as well as warplanes and helicopters and other heavy machinery meant for national self-defense.

Moscow defends its military sales to Syria by arguing that it is only fulfilling contracts signed before the current conflict broke out in March 2011.

Syria represents Russia's last strategic ally in the Middle East and the fall of Assad would deal a significant blow to Moscow's geopolitical aspirations.

Russia now intends to keep between three and five warships permanently stationed in the region as a show of its strategic interest in the Middle East, the Vedomosti report said.

(AFP)

Comments

Has anyone refuted this story as a LIE yet?
I just checked with a cousin on the Sea in Syria and confirmed the RUSSIAN ships are still there...
A respectable BLOG like yours running ANNONYMUS as the Author, common dude,
you should verify its FACTS, unless this lie was intentional...

SHAME ON YOU

Countrys and nations need peace. but a big war is coming like the bible said. Syria will be the one that will start world war 3, A war in syria will lead to a war in iran. Russia and the Usa of Amercia will goto war, China will come into the war later. The time could be now, We need to pray that we stand with God and the lord, New world older, the mark of the beast, one world goverment what they are pushing for. Fasle flags attacks, blaming countrys where countrys are right with God to start wars.

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