Russia has denied reports it has pulled military personnel from the Syrian port of Tartus.
"They are continuing to work in a regular mode, and there is no talk of their evacuation from Tartus," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
"Tartus remains the official base and repair facility for the Russian ships in the Mediterranean and is continuing to fulfill its mission," it continued.
The Russian Defense Ministry had denied similar reports earlier in the year that Russia had withdrawn military personnel from the naval base in Tartus due to the "deteriorating security situation" in Syria.
The Syrian news agency SANA also reported the Russian denial of claims personnel from the Material-Technical Support point had pulled out.
SANA quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that the media reports on the issue are "grossly untrue," adding that there are no Russian military personnel at the resupply point, but that it is manned by Russian civilian employees carrying out their mission.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Russia had evacuated all military personnel from its small naval base in Syria, following reports from Russian news organizations.
Word that Russian forces had pulled out of Syria first emerged during an interview with Mikhail Bogdanov, the deputy foreign minister, published in the al-Hayat newspaper on June 21.
Russian newspapers and agencies reported on Wednesday that they had confirmed the evacuation with unnamed personnel from Russia’s defense and foreign ministries.
“We have neither servicemen nor civilians in Syria anymore,” the newspaper Vedemosti reported, quoting an unnamed defense ministry employee, who added, “or Russian military training personnel assigned to units of the regular Syrian army, for that matter.”
The Mediterranean base is Russia’s only foothold in the Middle East. Although it is a minor facility, its importance has grown as a result of Russia's continued military support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in its war against rebel forces.