Dec 18, 2012 1:30 PM by Lauren Molenburg
MOSCOW (AP) - The Russian Defense Ministry says a navy squadron has set off for the Mediterranean on a mission that comes amid official talk about a possible evacuation of Russians from Syria.
The ministry said Tuesday that the squadron will rotate the navy ships that have been in the area since November. Russia's base in the Syrian port of Tartus is its only naval outpost outside the former Soviet Union.
Russian diplomats said last week that Moscow is preparing a plan to evacuate thousands of Russians from Syria if necessary. Moscow has been the main ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, shielding it from international sanctions over a brutal crackdown on an uprising that began in March 2011.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Photo: AFP via bbc.co.uk