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Interfax: 4 Russian ships head for Syria

 Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said Thursday that Russia was boosting its naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea, but primarily in order to organize a possible evacuation of Russians from Syria. He did not say how many vessels were being sent.

The prospect of increased Russian naval presence near Syria has stoked fears of a larger international conflict if the United States orders airstrikes over an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. The U.S. already has numerous war ships in the Mediterranean.

Two Russian amphibious landing vessels and a reconnaissance ship have passed through the Dardanelles strait, according to the report carried by Interfax, a privately owned agency known for its independent contacts within Russia's armed forces.

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