Sunday, January 8, 2012

Russian warships dock at Syrian port

Picture of a Russian Navy Destroyer (file photo)

Source: Press TV

large Russian navy flotilla led by an aircraft carrier has arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus in the Mediterranean Sea, to show Moscow's solidarity with Damascus.

"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 Yakushin Vladimir Anatolievich as saying on Sunday.

The six-day port call is intended to boost ties at a time when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is facing accusations from the West over the country's civil unrest.

The West and the Syrian rebels accuse Syrian government of killing the protesters, while Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

Last November, a Syrian news agency reported that a recent expansion of a Russian naval base at the Syrian territorial waters is aimed to send a clear message to the West, that Moscow would resist any foreign intervention in Syria.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March, with demonstrations being held both against and in favor of President Bashar al-Assad.

Arab League observers are currently in the country to investigate Syria's months-long unrest and to monitor the implementation of a peace initiative presented by the bloc to put an end to Damascus's crisis.

The United Nations said in mid-December that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the turmoil.

Damascus says over 2,000 of those killed were members of its security forces.

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