INTERNATIONAL > Russian naval flotilla docks in Syria: state media

DAMASCUS - Agence France-Presse

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Russia's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is seen in this file photo. AP photo

Russia's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is seen in this file photo. AP photo

A large Russian naval flotilla led by an aircraft carrier has docked in the Syrian port of Tartus in what Damascus state media hailed on Sunday as a show of solidarity by close ally Moscow.
The six-day port call by the carrier group in the Mediterranean port where Russia has a recently expanded naval base is intended to boost ties at a time when President Bashar al-Assad's government is under mounting Western and Arab pressure over its bloody crackdown on dissent, the Syrian press said.
"The port call is aimed at bringing the two countries closer together and strengthening their ties of friendship," the official SANA news agency quoted a Russian naval officer it named as Yakushin Vladimir Anatolievich as saying.
"The commanders of the Russian naval vessels docked in Tartus took turns to express their solidarity with the Syrian people," the news agency added.
The governor of Tartus province, Atef al-Nadaf, paid tribute to the "honourable position adopted by Russia which has stood by the Syrian people." The Al-Watan newspaper, which is privately owned but close to the government, reported last week that the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was escorted by a large flotilla including submarines.
Despite strong Western criticism, Russia has stood by its Cold War ally in the face of a mounting international outcry over the death toll from security force efforts to crush nearly 10 months of anti-government protests.
In October, Moscow joined Beijing in vetoing a Western-drafted UN Security Council resolution that would have threatened Damascus with "targeted measures" if it failed to rein in its security forces.


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two sides to every coin

1/10/2012 10:52:22 PM

With Israel worried about losing Egypt as its only friend in the ME and now Russia worried about losing Syria, the ME is becoming a melting pot of world aggression and paranoia. Turkey being in the middle of all this Erdogan has to be very careful.

James Leonard

1/8/2012 9:01:37 PM

Here's hoping Russia is successful in deterring an attack by NATO. Most think Syria is being used to involve Iran and while that may be true, I think the removal of the Russian naval base in Syria is also high on NATOs agenda.

Joshua Bronxman

1/8/2012 4:24:23 PM

When Syria becomes post-Assad Syria, Russia will lose one of their last remaining strongholds of influence in the ME. They will also lose one of their major customers for arms. With Iran also looking vulnerable the Russians will not leave quietly
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