Russia's emergencies ministry said the country has sent two passenger jets to Beirut, where airports are deemed safer, on a mission to pick up Russian nationals who want to leave Syria.
Irina Rossius, a spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry, did not give any further details. Two planes are not enough to transfer all the Russians living in Syria—the number of which was estimated to be more than 100,000, according to previous statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Many of them are not registered with the consulate, and are mostly women and children from mixed marriages.
In an attempt to figure out the reasoning and get more details on this regard, reporters for Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, both located in Moscow, stated that they have failed to obtain any details regarding the Russian decision. Usually such acts give an indication that there is a certain danger regarding the security of the Russian nationals in Syria, or that there is a war looming in the horizon against the Syrian regime.
Earlier in the day, Russian media reported that the former prime minister under, Yevgeny Primakov, said Russia does not back the regime of Bashar al-Assad and is not trying to keep him in power by any means, as some analysts in the West might think. Moscow insists it is up to Syrians to decide who will be their president. Now that Assad has been under such pressure, nobody can predict if he will stay or not.
At the same time, Primakov was wondering why no one thinks about who would replace Assad. He mentioned that al-Qaida might replace Assad, or maybe others without specification. Primakov said that urging Assad to go without naming another candidate for the post is not a solution.
It is worth mentioning that throughout the Syrian conflict Russia has shielded Assad from international sanctions and supported his regime with weapons. In addition, on several occasions Russia denied that it was propping up Assad and stressed that Moscow was only seeking to avert a perpetual civil war.
On the ground, SANA news reported that, a car explosion has hit Hama city, causing casualties among civilians. Adding, that the Syrian Army has managed to completely clean some areas in the central province of Hama of the terrorist gangs and al-Qaida.
Local Coordination Committees of Syria said that Syrian warplanes on Monday launched raids on Irbin and Hamuriyeh, in Damascus province. LCC also said that, at least 132 people were killed in violence across Syria, including 11 women and 10 children. 50 martyrs were reported in Damascus and Damascus Suburbs, 26 in Homs, 21 in Aleppo, 17 in Idlib, eight in Raqqah, six in Daraa, 2 in Deir El-Zor, one in Hama and one in Latakia.
Russia's move seems very strange. Of course, Russians realize that all Syrian airports are unsafe. For this, the choice was Beirut, which is about 185 km from Damascus. But why didn't Russia choose the evacuation to be over the sea, as there is a Russian military base in Tartus? Why did Russia make this decision? Is there real danger on the Russian citizens in Syria ?
According to my sources, there is no reason for the Russians to act in this way, but the Syrian arena always holds surprises!
As for Russian statements that al-Qaida will come after Assad, this is not true because there is a national council recognized by many countries of the world. Certainly, this council will work to protect Syria and apply democracy.
Most news sources state that the Syrian regime could not, until today, re-control Hama or Idlib, after continuous fighting for more than two months. Thus, the regime relies on aerial bombardment. At the same time, the pro-regime websites publish false news, such as asserting that the regime was able to re-control the city of Hama. Of course the FSA is not interested in such rumors and will continue to fight until they liberate Syria from the occupation of Assad family's 40-year brutal regime and the Iranian influence.
Despite a severe shortage of bread in the country, the pro-regime daily Al-Watan said that the Syrian Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection have raised the prices of petrol, wheat and flour by 25 to 40 percent.