Russia is reportedly preparing to send two navy ships with an unspecified number of marines on a mission to protect Russian citizens and a Russian base in Syria.
Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified officer from the Russian naval headquarters as saying on June 18 that the "Nikolai Filchenkov" and the "Tszar Kunikov" were preparing for an "unscheduled" trip to the Syrian port of Tartus, where Moscow operates a naval base.
The report said the two ships will carry a "large" group of marines.
Meanwhile, activists said Syrian forces renewed shelling of the central city of Homs.
Clashes and shelling also went on through the night in several areas of the Damascus province.
Activists say more than 14,000 people have died in the 16-month uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Based on reports by AFP, AP, Interfax, and Reuters