Sept. 5 - Russian warships are seen passing through Turkey's Bosphorus headed to the Mediterranean. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Three Russian warships passed through Turkey's Bosphorus on Thursday on their way to the east Mediterranean to take over the Russian navy's operations in the region. U.S. President Barack Obama has won backing from key figures in the U.S. Congress in his call for limited U.S. strikes on Syria to punish President Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians on August 21. Moscow has been Assad's most powerful ally, protecting him from consecutive U.N. security resolutions aimed at pressuring him to end violence. Russia insists the conflict must be solved through political dialogue in which Assad must take part. Nonetheless, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview released on Wednesday, did not rule out approving a military operation if clear evidence showed Damascus had carried out the attacks, but said any attack would be illegal without U.N. support. Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry said new warships, including the Moskva, were being sent to the Mediterranean but described the movements as routine deployments. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia has no intention of getting dragged into any military conflict over Syria. Earlier this week, Interfax reported that Russia was also sending a reconnaissance ship to the region but that it would operate separately from the naval