MOSCOW, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Two planes left Moscow for Beirut, capital of Lebanon, Tuesday to pick up Russian nationals who wish to leave Syria, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
A Yak-42 plane hopped off from the Domodedovo airport at noon (0800 GMT) while an Il-76 left a few minutes later from the Ramenskoye airport, both in Moscow region, the ministry's information department told the Interfax news agency.
The planes would take back some 100 Russian nationals "who wish to leave Syria," the department said, stressing "this is not an evacuation."
The ministry has also set a hotline for relatives of the Russians who are leaving Syria.
The Russian Embassy in Damascus said the Russians "have been living in conflict hotbeds and their homes were destroyed."
No Russian diplomatic staff would be on the planes back to homeland, Interfax quoted an embassy source as saying.
Given that more Russian citizens are seeking to go home, more planes would be dispatched, the source said, adding "no one is forced to leave."
The 22-month-old Syrian crisis has been deteriorating as the government's vision for ending the bloodshed has been rejected by the opposition.
MOSCOW, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The first group of Russian nationals leaving from Syria have crossed the border to Lebanon, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Tuesday.
The 50 Russians -- mostly women, children and some naturalized Syrians -- are heading to Beirut airport in three buses to board a plane dispatched by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry. Full story
BEIRUT, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zaspykin said Friday his country "stresses the political path as the only solution to the Syrian crisis."
Zaspykin said following his meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour that Russia is keen on preserving Syria's unity and sovereignty, adding that "We will continue to urge all Syrian feuding parties to stop violence and get them engaged in dialogues." Full story