Moscow: Russian warships will be continuously deployed for patrol duty off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, a defence ministry official said on Friday.

"A decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis," the official said. Russia's Kashin-class guided-missile destroyer Smetlivy is currently deployed near the Syrian coast.

"Another Black Sea Fleet ship will replace the Smetlivy in May," the official said. Several Russian warships were now on their way to the Mediterranean."This may be the Pytlivy frigate or one of the amphibious assault ships," he said, adding that "deployment of a Black Sea Fleet task force to the region cannot be ruled out".

The US, France, Britain, Germany and some other countries have deployed more warships to the Mediterranean since the outbreak of unrest in Syria. More than 9,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to the UN. On Thursday, the Syrian government declared a ceasefire with opposition fighters as part of a UN-brokered peace plan.