Hmmm: Russia removing military personnel from Syria?

Russia has withdrawn all its military personnel from Syria and left its strategic Tartus naval centre unstaffed because of the escalating security threat in the war-torn country, the Vedomosti daily said Wednesday.

The respected business daily cited an unnamed source in the Russian defence ministry as saying that no Russian defence ministry military or civilian personnel were now present in Syria, a Soviet-era ally of Moscow.

The source said the decision was taken to limit the dangers posed to Russians amid a raging civil war and to reduce the threat of political damage that could result from Russians being killed by either side.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov had appeared to confirm the evacuation of military staff in an interview with the London-published Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat published on Friday.