• Reuters

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The sailors of Russia’s Caspian Sea fleet have seen little action over the last 300 years but now the war raging in Syria has thrust them into the forefront of Russia’s largest military operation abroad since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Better known for oil drilling and sturgeon smuggling than for strategic naval importance, the Caspian Sea bordering Central Asia and the Middle East was an unexpected place for Russia to launch a battery of cruise missile attacks against Islamic State targets in Syria on Wednesday.

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