Saturday, July 28, 2012

Syria crisis: Assad forces move in on Aleppo - live updates

Russian Base in Tartus

The Guardian

"12.00pm: Russia's state news agency RIA is reporting that the head of the country's navy, Vice Adm. Viktor Chirkov has said that they might evacuate their base in Syria if it comes under attack.

It is not clear whether they expect this. The base in Tartus is not very far from Homs city.

Servicemen may be evacuated from the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria, if it comes under attack, Navy chief Vice Adm. Viktor Chirkov said on Saturday.

"I am not the one to issue orders: We have the defense minister [for that]," he said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy Radio. "If we have to evacuate the personnel that is currently deployed there, we certainly will."

He stressed that an order by the commander in chief of the Russian Armed Forces (the president) and Russia's top political leadership was required for that.

What makes this more interesting is that the Syrian base is Russia's only existing naval base outside the former Soviet Union and in a crucial warm water location on the Mediterranean.

It also comes a day after a report that Russia is seeking out locations for other bases in foreign countries including Cuba, Vietnam and the Seychelles."

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