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Russia Evacuates Citizens from Syria, Sends Humanitarian Aid

Russia has sent two aircrafts loaded with humanitarian aid to Syria to evacuate its citizens who are now ready to leave.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 2/18/2013, 8:26 PM

Zamalka neighborhood of Damascus this month
Zamalka neighborhood of Damascus this month
Reuters

Russia has sent two aircrafts loaded with humanitarian aid to Syria to evacuate its citizens who are now ready to leave.

An Emergencies Ministry spokesperson announced Monday that 46 tons of aid would be sent to Damascus, where a savage civil war has been raging for nearly two years.

Russia has blocked numerous attempts to condemn Syria’s government for its brutality against its own citizens, which has included a massive campaign of arrests, tortures and in many cases, even murder.

Earlier this month, Moscow also sent a shipment of military hardware to Damascus that included anti-missile air defense systems and other items. 

“We are continuing to carry out our obligations on contracts for the delivery of military hardware,” state arms exporter Rosonboronexport director Anatoly Isaikin told reporters a little over a week ago. He added, however, that there were no weapons which could be used to kill others among the hardware, and no helicopters or warplanes.

In recent months Moscow has begun to indicate that it is aware that President Bashar al-Assad is slowly losing control of his country, and may ultimately be defeated in his bid to remain in power. 

Last month some 80 Russian citizens fled the war-torn nation, crossing into Lebanon before catching a flight back home to Moscow. The evacuation was facilitated by Russia’s Emergencies Ministry, which sent two planes to Beirut ostensibly to deliver humanitarian aid to Damascus. At the time, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson made a point of telling reporters the ministry had also offered a free trip back to Russia for those “wishing to go.”