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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Report: All personnel withdrawn from Russian naval base in Syria

A report in the Russian English language web site RT.com indicates that all personnel have been withdrawn from the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria (Hat Tip: MFS - The Other News).
Mikhail Bogdanov made the announcement in an interview with the Al-Hayat newspaper. “Presently, the Russian Defense Ministry has not a single person stationed in Syria. The base does not have any strategic military importance,” the newspaper quoted the Russian official as saying.
Russian media have verified the statement and the business daily Vedomosti quoted an unnamed source in the Defense Ministry as saying that this was true as all military and civilian personnel had been evacuated from the Tartus base and there were no Russian military instructors working with the Syrian military forces. The source added that the withdrawal was prompted not only by the increased risks caused by the ongoing military conflict, but also by the fact that in the current conditions any incident involving Russian servicemen would likely have some unfavorable reaction from the international community.
Russia currently has a 16-ship flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea but none of them has called at the port of Tartus in recent months and there were no reports of such plans.
Mikhail Bogdanov is also Russian President’s plenipotentiary for Middle East issues and he headed the Russian delegation at this week’s talks between Russia, US and UN on preparations of the major international conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2.
This could be a sign that the rebels are winning. Or it could be nothing. Hmmm.

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