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Reports: Russia Sends More Missiles, Has Ships Near Syria

Friday's major news about the conflict in Syria:

-- "Russia Sends More Advanced Missiles to Aid Assad in Syria."

According to The New York Times, "Russia has sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to Syria, a move that illustrates the depth of its support for the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, American officials said Thursday."

-- "Russia Raises Stakes In Syria: Assad Ally Bolsters Warships In Region; U.S. Sees Warning."

The Wall Street Journal reports that "Russia has sent a dozen or more warships to patrol waters near its naval base in Syria, a buildup that U.S. and European officials see as a newly aggressive stance meant partly to warn the West and Israel not to intervene in Syria's bloody civil war."

(Both the Times and Journal have paywalls.)

Russia has been resisting efforts led by the U.S. and other Western nations to press Assad to step aside. Still, just this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared there's been "a real breakthrough" in the effort to get Russian President Vladimir Putin to help in the push for peace in Syria. Putin agreed to an American plan for a peace conference.

But the Times adds that Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement released Thursday night that "this weapons transfer is obviously disappointing and will set back efforts to promote the political transition that is in the best interests of the Syrian people and the region."

Update at 9 a.m. ET. Related Story:

"Russian Warships Enter Mediterranean To Form Permanent Task Force." (Russia Today)

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