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Syria regime bastion welcomes Russian 'friends'

A customer shops in 'Commandos', a shop that sells military-style clothing and accessories, in the Syrian coastal city of LatakiaIn the windows of his father’s shop in coastal Syria, Ihab replaces bottles of the national tipple arak with vodka, hoping to please his growing customer base of Russian soldiers. “In the past the demand was more for whisky and arak, but with the Russians arriving in Syria, it’s changed to vodka,” Ihab, 32, says inside the “Crown” store in Latakia province. Ihab’s storefront is one of many shops and restaurants hoping to attract the Russian soldiers who have arrived in Latakia since Moscow began a military intervention in Syria in late September.

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