|Loaded with weapons. |
The Russian cargo ship Chariot as it sails out of Limassol, Cyprus
on its way to Syria.
Russia plays their hand in the Middle East
A Russian ship that made an unscheduled stop in Greek Cyprus while carrying tons of arms has arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus, Turkish foreign ministry official Selçuk Ünal told journalists.
Ünal said the Turkish navy has learned that the Russian ship "Chariot" docked at the Syrian port today.
The Chariot, a St. Vincent and Grenadines-flagged ship, left a Russian port on Jan. 9 for Turkey and Syria, which is 105 km east of Cyprus, the officials said. Russia and Turkey are not members of the European Union, so such a route would not have violated the embargo the bloc imposed to protest
Syria’s crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule reports Hurriyet News.
The Chariot was reportedly carrying between 35 and 60 tons of munitions and explosives bound for the port of Latakia in Syria.
The Chariot dropped anchor off the southern Greek Cypriot port of Limassol Jan. 10 because of high seas, drawing the attention of Greek Cypriot officials, according to government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.
Customs officials boarded the ship to examine its cargo but could not open and inspect the four containers because of “the confined space” they were stored in, the Greek Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Nevertheless, the officials determined they were holding “dangerous cargo.” State radio in Greek Cyprus went further, saying the vessel was carrying “tons of munitions.”
|Russian warships leave Syrian port of Tartus.|
Russian Fleet leaves Syria
A Russian naval task force, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, has left the Syrian port of Tartus after a three-day visit, Russia’s Northern Fleet said in a statement.
The task force called on the Syrian port on Sunday amid ongoing bloody protests in Syria against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Some media reports said the visit of the Russian warships was a signal of Russia’s support for Assad’s regime but the Russian military denied any connections of the visit with the political situation in the country.
Russian warships enter Syrian port
The Russian Defense Ministry repeatedly stated that the purpose of the visit at the Syrian port was to replenish water and food supplies during the naval task force’s long-term training mission in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
For more on this story