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Russian ship heads for Syria

Russian ship heads for Syria 11.09.2013
Text: Las Vegas Sun
Photo: Russian landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov has departed for Syria. ITAR-TASS
Russian state news agency Interfax is reporting that another Russian ship on the Black Sea has departed for Syria.

Citing a source at navy headquarters, it says the landing ship left the Black Sea port of Sevastopol on Friday morning for the Eastern Mediterranean with "special cargo."

The Ministry of Defense was unable to confirm the ship's departure. Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov said Thursday that Russia is boosting its naval presence in the Mediterranean, but "primarily" in order to organize a possible evacuation of Russians from Syria. It is unclear how many ships Russia has there.

Reports of increased Russian naval presence near Syria have stoked fears about a larger international conflict if the United States orders airstrikes over a chemical weapons attack last month.

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