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20 March, 2012

Russian Anti-Terror Troops Arrive in Syria



http://ABCNEWS.COM
Russian Anti-Terror Troops Arrive in Syria (ABCNews )

A Russian military unit has arrived in   Syria,   according to Russian news reports, a development that a United Nations Security   Council source told ABC News was "a bomb" certain to have serious   repercussions.
Russia, one of President Bashar al-Assad's strongest   allies despite international condemnation of the government's violent   crackdown on the country's uprising, has repeatedly blocked the United Nations   Security Council's attempts to halt the violence, accusing the U.S. and its   allies of trying to start another war.
Now the Russian Black Sea fleet's Iman   tanker has arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea with   an anti-terror squad from the Russian Marines aboard according to the Interfax   news agency. The Assad government has insisted it is fighting a terrorist   insurgency.
The Iman replaced another Russian ship   "which had been sent to Syria for demonstrating (sic) the Russian presence in   the turbulent region and possible evaluation of Russian citizens," the Black Sea Fleet told   Interfax.
RIA Novosti, a news outlet with strong   ties to the Kremlin, trumpeted the news in a banner headline that appeared   only on its Arabic language website. The Russian embassy to the US and to the   UN had no comment, saying they have "no particular information on" the arrival   of a Russian anti-terrorism squad to Syria.
Moscow has long enjoyed a cozy   relationship with the Assad regime, to which it sells billions of dollars of   weapons. In return Russia has maintained a Navy base at Tartus, which gives it   access to the Mediterranean.
Last week Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei   Lavrov said Russia had no plans to send troops to Syria.
"As for the question whether I consider   it necessary to confront the United States in Syria and ensure our military   presence there… in order to take part in military actions -- no. I believe   this would be against Russia's national interests," Lavrov told lawmakers,   according to RIA Novosti.

Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly   Serdyukov denied reports that Russian special forces were operating inside   Syria. He did say, however, that there are Russian military and technical   advisors in the country.
U.S. State Department spokesperson   Victoria Nuland said the U.S. government had not heard of the reports of   Russian troops in Syria and declined to comment. 
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