[illustrative photo] Ship at sea 311 (R).
(photo credit: Andreas Manolis / Reuters)
MOSCOW - A Russian-operated ship with "a dangerous cargo" has reached
conflict-torn Syria, a source at the vessel's St. Petersburg-based firm
said on Friday, after being temporarily halted during a refueling stop
The source declined to comment on Russian and Cypriot
media reports that the ship Chariot, which set sail from St. Petersburg
on Dec. 9, was carrying cargo from Russia's weapons exporter
Rosoboronexport. The Cyprus newspaper Politis reported the ship was
carrying 60 tonnes of ammunition.
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Russia has long been a major
arms supplier to Syria, where President Bashar Assad is trying to crush a
10-month-old wave of unrest by military force, prompting Western and
Arab sanctions against Damascus that Moscow has not joined.
ship was carrying a dangerous cargo," the source at St. Petersburg-based
Westberg Ltd. said by telephone on condition of anonymity. "It reached
Syria on Jan. 11," he said.
Rosoboronexport spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko said on Friday that the arms exporter would neither confirm nor deny the report.
Cypriot media had said on Wednesday that the Mediterranean island
state's authorities had intercepted a cargo of ammunition bound for
Syria for checks after the ship carrying it put into the port of
Limassol for refuelling.
Cypriot officials had no comment but state radio reported then that the vessel would be allowed to sail onwards.