MOSCOW - The Russian government says it is sending two planes to Lebanon to evacuate Russians from Syria, the first such effort since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad began in March 2011.
The Emergency Situations Ministry said two of its planes will fly to Beirut on Tuesday to carry more than 100 Russians from Syria.
Monday's announcement appears to reflect Moscow's increasing doubts about Assad's ability to cling to power and growing concerns about the safety of its citizens.
Russia's Foreign Ministry has said that it has contingency plans in place to evacuate thousands of Russians from Syria.
Russia has been the main ally of Assad since the start of the conflict, using its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to shield the Syrian strongman from sanctions.