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Russian nationals flee Syria

Lucie Parsaghian / EPA

A group of Russian citizens hold hands after crossing the border from Syria at Al-Masnaa, Lebanon, on Jan. 22.

Jamal Saidi / Reuters

A Russian child evacuated from Damascus sits in a bus as their convoy arrives at the Masna'a border crossing between Lebanon and Syria in the eastern Bekaa region of Lebanon on Jan. 22.

Bilal Hussein / AP

A group of Russian citizens ride a bus shortly after crossing the border from Syria into Lebanon at the Masna'a border crossing in Lebanon, on Jan. 22. Some 80 Russian citizens crossed into Lebanon as Moscow began evacuating some of the tens of thousands of Russians who live in Syria.

By Bassem Mroue and Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press

Four buses carrying Russian citizens escaping the Syrian civil war crossed into Lebanon on Tuesday, in the first evacuation organized by Moscow since the start of the conflict nearly two years ago.

About 80 people, mostly women and children, were on the buses, according to an official from the Russian Embassy in Beirut who was waiting for the group at the Masnaa border crossing in eastern Lebanon. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The evacuation was the strongest sign yet of Russia's doubts in the ability of President Bashar Assad's regime to cling to power in Syria.

Read the full story.

Jamal Saidi / Reuters

A Syrian man holds his sister after they fled their home near Damascus, as they walk past Russian nationals sitting in a bus who have been evacuated from Damascus during their arrival at the Lebanese Masna'a border point in eastern Bekaa on Jan. 22.

Previously on PhotoBlog:

Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

A look at the violence that has overtaken the country.