Saturday, April 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Russians starts evacuating nationals from Syria

MASNAA, Lebanon — Key Syrian ally Russia began evacuating its citizens from the country on Tuesday as the civil war gathered momentum in the capital Damascus with intense fighting around the international airport.

The evacuation was the strongest sign yet of Moscow’s waning confidence in the ability of its ally President Bashar Assad to hold onto power. The U.N. chief said Tuesday that a diplomatic conclusion to the war seems unlikely.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Russian evacuations indicate “the continued deterioration of the security situation and the violence that Assad is leading against his own people.”

Four buses carrying about 80 people, mostly women and children, crossed out of the country over land into neighboring Lebanon in the early afternoon. They were bound for the Lebanese capital Beirut to fly home in two planes that Russia sent. They apparently were not flown directly home out of Damascus because of the fighting around the airport there.

Russian announced the beginning of the evacuations on Monday, saying it would take out 100 nationals. The Russian Foreign Ministry says there are tens of thousands of Russians living in Syria. Many of them are Russian women married to Syrian men.

The officials said thousands more evacuations could follow – possibly by both air and sea.

Russia has been Assad’s main ally since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, selling arms, providing technical support and, along with China, using its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to shield Damascus from international sanctions over the Syrian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent.

But in recent months, Russia has started distancing itself from Assad. President Vladimir Putin said last month that he understands Syria needs change and that he was not protecting the Syrian ruler.

The Russians entered Lebanon at the Masnaa border crossing, where an official from their embassy in Beirut was waiting for them.

Some inside the buses closed the curtains so they would not be seen by journalists waiting at the border. Most refused to comment and those who did speak said only they were going home to visit relatives.

Jodie, an 8-year-old girl traveling from Damascus with her sister and her Syrian father said she was going to Moscow to see her mother, who is Russian. Jodie and her 4-year-old sister Nadine spoke briefly to reporters when they got off the bus to get their passports stamped at the border.

“I used to hear the shelling, but I was not scared,” said Nadine. “I would close my eyes.”

Officials at the Russian Embassy in Damascus said they have several thousand citizens registered as living in Syria. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said some of the people who were being evacuated Tuesday have lost their houses and need Russian government assistance to leave.

The officials downplayed the evacuation effort, denying that they are assisting their nationals’ departures from Syria because of the deteriorating security situation.

One of the officials, who identified herself only as the embassy’s head of protocol, said the government was simply responding to those who had asked for help in leaving Syria, suggesting they were mostly Russians living in areas where the fighting is fiercest.

“It’s their personal desire to leave Syria,” said the official. She noted that thousands of Russians were still in Syria.

In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov dismissed reports that the evacuations were the beginning of a Russian exodus from Syria. He told media there Russian planes landed in Beirut to deliver humanitarian aid at the Syrian government’s request, and would take home those who wanted to leave.

“There is no plan to take everyone out,” Denisov said. “Since the planes have arrived there, and some people with children want to leave, we are ready to take them out.”

As the evacuation got under way, Syrian government forces and rebels battled in the suburbs of Damascus and elsewhere.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said clashes between opposition fighters and troops were concentrated in the areas around the capital, including along the road linking it to the international airport.

Persistent fighting along the airport road has prompted regional and international airlines to suspend flights to Damascus in recent weeks, although Syrian officials maintain that the airport remains open.

International diplomacy has done little to ease Syria’s crisis, which according to the U.N. has claimed more than 60,000 lives since March 2011.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he didn’t see “much prospect of resolution” by diplomacy.

At his first news conference of the year, Ban noted the worsening humanitarian conditions inside Syria and for those who have fled to neighboring countries.

For months, special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the U.N. and the Arab League, has been pushing for a cease-fire and the formation of a transitional government — with little apparent progress.

Ban said he and Brahimi reached a bleak conclusion after talks Monday.

“Our shared assessment is that we are still a long way from getting the Syrians together,” he said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano unemployment inches downward

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Transplant recipients talk about their best gifts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Fairfield council candidates weigh in on crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

Police release name of woman found dead in Fairfield canal

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Spering, Bertani spar over fighting crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 32 Comments | Gallery

 
Five homes featured on Symphony Home Tour

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Congregation invites public to Easter music, message

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Local woman helps spread Easter joy

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
Weather for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B13

 
.

US / World

California farmers to get more water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Teen sentenced in Oakland toddler’s killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More Latino than white students admitted to UC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

From Clinton to Obama, many parallels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

PG&E to be arraigned in fatal pipeline blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Mom and son who died in San Francisco fire ID’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

3 alleged gang members convicted of murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

NASA’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Atheist national conference aims at Mormon church

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

Easter on 4/20, pot holy day; pastors reach out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Some countries get Obama, but want his wife, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Man who avoided prison is overwhelmed by support

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

White House updating online privacy policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
SpaceX making Easter delivery of station supplies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Sudden movement raises alarm in Wyoming slide area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Military scales down, modifies Guam buildup plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Captain of sunken SKorean ferry arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
57-nation OSCE plays key Ukraine monitoring role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine crisis: The turning points

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

Here we go again in Sacramento

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

 
Cheers, jeers for the week of April 13-19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Seniors, it’s never too late to do something about your health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Prince reaches agreement with music label

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

‘The Boondocks’ back for final ‘offensive’ season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

Stratocaster still a favorite at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Sports

Ross, Padres beat Cain and Giants 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A’s come out swinging to beat Astros 11-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors to start O’Neal for Bogut vs. Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hertl has impressive playoff debut for Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors and Clippers take dislike to playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Big innings lift Mustangs over Indians

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

’40-and-up club’: Ageless Hopkins after more belts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jimenez shoots 65 to lead Greater Gwinnett field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Solano scores in ninth for 2-1 BVC baseball win over Yuba

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Choi leads rain-delayed RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NBA’s Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA playoffs looking more wide-open than expected

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Source: Grizzlies’ G Calathes suspended for 20 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mets trade 1B Ike Davis to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
TNT’s Sager to miss NBA playoffs due to leukemia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
A’s lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

Business

Judge says American can’t end retiree benefits yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

5 features an Amazon phone might offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 04/19/14

Summerwood features 8 new homes in Suisun

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.27 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3