Russian ships divert to Beirut, abandon Syrian port

“The port of Tartous continues to be the only official (facility) for Russian ships (in the Mediterranean),” a source explained. (Reuters)

Russian warships will dock in Beirut instead of Syria’s Tartous port, where Moscow has a naval facility, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

“The escalating conflict in Syria and [doubts] over the entry of Russian ships into the port of Tartous forced us to search for safer ports for [docking], and one of them is in Beirut,” a diplomatic source told Interfax.

A flotilla of Russian Baltic Sea vessels came into the port in Beirut recently, added the source.

However, the source insisted that Russia was not considering abandoning its position in Tartous for the moment. The Syrian port currently serves as a refueling station for Russian ships, its acts as Moscow’s only Mediterranean Port.

“The port of Tartous continues to be the only official [facility] for Russian ships [in the Mediterranean],” the source explained. “Once events in Syria become more predictable, we will be able to [come to] a position on continuing the use of Tartous.”

Russia is one of the Syrian regime’s key allies and offers both diplomatic and military support to the embattled President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime has killed around 70,000 people – according to the U.N. – since the March 2011 uprising.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Thursday, 21 March 2013 KSA 13:31 - GMT 10:31
Top