MOSCOW - Russia is sending its large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov towards the Syrian coast, state news agency Interfax quoted a navy source as saying on Friday.

"The vessel will dock in Novorossiysk where it will take special cargo on board and head to the designated area of military service in the eastern Mediterranean," Interfax quoted the unnamed navy source as saying.

It gave no more details on the cargo. Russia, a key international ally of Damascus in the Syrian civil war, is rotating its navy vessels in the Mediterranean and says its presence there is a security guarantee.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger