By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
Vedomosti is the Russian business daily. AFP (Agence France Presse) ran a piece citing Vedomosti that took me by surprise. In fact, I find it hard to imagine that the report is correct.
It said that Russia was packing up and leaving Syria. That they are only going to be leaving 3 to 5 war ships in Tartus, the Russian naval base in Syria.
The newspaper claims that there are no longer any Russian military personnel on the ground in Syria and that the Naval facility is operating on a skeleton crew.
The paper clarified that the number does not count the Russian technical advisers.
The reason it is so hard for me to believe this story is that Russia does not want that their $3 to 4 billion naval facility to fall into the hands of the rebels --- especially the al Qaeda rebels. They will do anything to make certain that does not happen.
That said, 5 warships can easily include the Russian aircraft carrier which is a mini air force and army all by itself. There is no doubt in my mind that Russia will not, at this stage, pack up and leave. There is too much at stake. If they were going to leave they would be doing so in order to throw a bone to the United States.
There is no way that Russia will leave Syria at this point. I need to find other substantial and reliable sources to confirm this story.
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