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Russian Troops Pulled from Syria; Naval Center Left Unmanned

A Russian business newspaper reported on Wednesday that Russia has pulled its troops out of Syria because of the escalating violence. Vedomosti, which said that the Tartus naval center was left unmanned because of the pullout, cited an unidentified Russian defense ministry source as confirming that no defense ministry or civilian employees are left in Syria. On Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Borgdanov said as much in an interview with an Arabic-language newspaper based in London, characterizing Tartus as a maintenance facility rather than a naval base. Nevertheless, it is Russia’s only naval station away from the homeland. According to Vedomosti, the Russians plan to continue to keep several war ships in the region “as a show of strategic interest in the Middle East.”