Fearing an imminent attack on Syria by the United States, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry sent a plane for its citizens to leave Syria, the RIA Novosti (Russian) website reports today (September 9, 2013).
"An 11-76 plane took off for Latakia on Sunday morning," said Russian Emergency Ministry Spokeswoman Irina Rossius. "The plane will carry both Russians and citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) from Syria," she added.
The voluntary evacuation is the second operation organized by Russia after it removed nearly 90 people -- mostly women and children -- last month from Syria's Latakia city to Moscow.
The Russian move came after the U.S. State Department asked its non-emergency staff and family members on September 6 to leave Lebanon, citing security concerns.