There are between 35,000 and 40,000 Russian families in Syria, the Syrian Ambassador to Russia, Riyad Haddad, said last week. He added that only about 100 families have returned to Russia since the start of the civil war. They were relocated in January after being bused out of the country.
A large-scale evacuation from the Syrian coast would be a shift in confidence for Moscow, which has been a staunch ally of Damascus and the al-Assad government.
The Russian military maintains a small base and uses the Syrian port of Tartus for resupply missions.