Tensions rise with Russia as the United States sends warships near Syria in the Mediterranean Sea. Russian Defense Minister Oleg Dogayev made it clear that the U.S. is provoking international response, and U.S. warships in the region is of particular concern.
Five U.S. destroyers and an amphibious ship are poised for possible cruise missile strikes against Syria. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz [pictured above] and four other ships in its group have also moved into the region.
Russian is a huge arms supplier to the Syrian government. Russian president Vladimir Putin responded to the U.S. by sending a Russian reconnaissance ship into the region. The PRIAZOVYE left the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol to gather information on the escalating moves by the U.S.
The number of refugees fleeing Syria's violence has now surpassed the 2 million mark, said the U.N. refugee agency. The U.S. has the backing of France and Germany about the use of chemical agents, although the Assad regime continues to deny the use chemical weapons, blaming rebels instead. Neither the U.S. nor Syria and its allies have presented conclusive proof in public.
The Syria conflict erupted in March 2011 with a popular uprising against Assad that quickly escalated into a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people.