Tass: Russian warships to visit Syria

January 6, 2012 22:37

MOSCOW - Two Russian warships are expected to arrive in Syria on Saturday, the state-run Itar-Tass news agency reported, a visit that will likely be seen as a show of force and a display of support for President Bashar al-Assad's government.

The destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and the frigate Yaroslav Mudry are scheduled to put in at Russia's naval maintenance and supply facility in the Syrian port of Tartus, Itar-Tass cited an unnamed representative of the navy's general staff as saying.

The official said the vessels, part of a group of Russian ships currently in the Mediterranean, were expected to spend several days at the Tartus facility, one of the Russian navy's few outposts abroad.

Russia has maintained support for the increasingly isolated Assad during a nearly 10-month-old uprising against his rule. The United Nations estimates the government crackdown has killed more than 5,000 people.

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