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2 Russia-bound jets to pull Russians out of Syria

Tuesday - 2/19/2013, 7:58am  ET

This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013. The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a 131-page report Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, detailing deepening radicalization by both sides and says fighters on both sides in Syria's civil war have committed atrocities and should be brought to justice. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

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 U.N. estimates.


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