Russia sends jets to take its citizens out of Syria
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Russia sends jets to take its citizens out of Syria

Two planes bring humanitarian aid, offer return trip for any nationals who wish to leave war-torn country

This citizen journalism image shows an anti-Assad protestors in Idlib province, northern Syria. Despite weeks of intense bombardments by the Syrian military, the civil war shows no sign of ending soon. (photo credit: AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)
This citizen journalism image shows an anti-Assad protestors in Idlib province, northern Syria. Despite weeks of intense bombardments by the Syrian military, the civil war shows no sign of ending soon. (photo credit: AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian officials have sent two jets carrying humanitarian aid to Syria and are inviting Russians willing to leave the country to take the flights back.

The Emergency Situations Ministry on Tuesday said in a statement that the two planes bound for the northwestern port of Latakia have already left Moscow, carrying 40 tons of humanitarian aid including portable power generators, blankets, canned food and sugar. It says Russians are welcome to fly back on the planes.

Russia in January pulled 77 Russians out of Syria on two flights but the foreign ministry insists it is not planning a large-scale evacuation.

The brutal conflict in Syria has been raging since March 2011, killing some 70,000 people, according to UN estimates.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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