14 Jan 2012

Russian munitions ship reaches Syria

12:08 pm on 14 January 2012

A Russian ship carrying a cargo of ammunition reached Syria.

Written assurances were reportedly given during a refuelling stop in Cyprus on Tuesday that its destination would not be Syria, but Turkey.

It was allowed to sail a day later, whereupon it dropped conventional tracking systems, switched course and reached Syria on Thursday.

A Turkish foreign ministry official on Friday confirmed the ship had reached Syria.

Four container loads of bullets were aboard the Chariot, which sailed from St. Petersburg on 9 December.

Westberg Ltd in St. Petersburg said no Russian law prevented the delivery from being made at the port of Tartus, where Russia maintains a naval base.

Confiscated munitions destined for Syria from Iran exploded in Cyprus last July, destroying a power station. Cyprus recently finalised a 2.5 billion euro ($US3.2 billion) loan from Russia.