Russian diplomats said last week however that Moscow is preparing plans to evacuate thousands of Russians from Syria if necessary.
The Interfax news agency, citing unidentified naval sources, reported that the navy command wants the ships to be on hand for the task if needed.
NBC’s Engel meanwhile said Tuesday he and members of his network crew escaped unharmed after five days of captivity in Syria, where more than a dozen pro-regime gunmen dragged them from their car, killed one of their rebel escorts and subjected them to mock executions.
Appearing on NBC’s ‘‘Today’’ show, an unshaven Engel said he and his team escaped during a firefight Monday night between their captors and rebels at a checkpoint. They crossed into Turkey on Tuesday.
Engel said he believes the kidnappers were a Shiite militia group loyal to the Syrian government.
The Syrian government has made it difficult for foreign journalists and citizens to report in Syria.
Those journalists whom the regime has allowed in are tightly controlled in their movements by Information Ministry minders. Other foreign journalists sneak into Syria illegally.
The kidnapping of foreigners has been rare, but as Syria descends further into chaos, the abduction of Syrians has become increasingly common.
Separately, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that two Russians were kidnapped along with an Italian in Syria, and their captors have demanded a ransom for their release.
The three, who worked at a Syrian steel plant, were kidnapped late Monday on the road between Tartus, where Russia has a naval base, and Homs, the ministry said in a statement. It did not specify the amount of the ransom demand.
Associated Press writers John Heilprin in Geneva, Albert Aji in Damascus, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.