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Russia Denies Personnel Withdrawn From Syrian Base

A Russian nuclear-powered missile cruiser docked at Tartus
The Russian military has denied media reports that personnel were withdrawn from its naval base in Syria.

The Defense Ministry said that Russia had replaced all military personnel at its naval facility in Tartus with civilian workers but that the facility continues to function normally.

The ministry said the switch occurred long ago.

The facility in Tartus is Russia's only military base outside the former Soviet Union.

Russia's daily "Vedomosti" on June 26 cited an unidentified source as saying that neither servicemen nor civilian Defense Ministry personnel were currently stationed at the facility.

Russia is the main ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

It has shielded it from UN sanctions and continues to provide it with weapons, despite a continuing civil war that has killed more than 93,000 people.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and Interfax