Russia sends first 10 planes to Syria to help with chemical stockpile removal
Russia sent Syria 10 aircrafts filled with equipment to help Damascus remove the country's chemical weapons stockpile as part of the unprecedented mission to remove Syria's entire arsenal vis-a-vis the port city of Latakia, according to Agence France-Presse.
"An air bridge has been established to deliver the technology and the equipment necessary for assisting the operation for the removal of the chemical weapons from Syria," Russia's ambassador to Syria Azamat Kulmukhametov told reporters.
The planes landed in Latakia this week and the ambassador says that the flights will continue until all the supplies and equipment is delivered.
Though Kulmukhametov did not provide further details about the removal plan, the UN chemical watchdog, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), who is in charge of overseeing the removal operation, said that Russian armored trucks will transport the chemical weapons out of the country.
Danish and Norwegian sea vessels have already arrived in Cyprus to transport the first batch of weapons from Latakia for destructions. The ships will move the chemicals to an Italian port where they will be transferred to a US ship for final destruction.
The first batch of what is considered the most deadly weapons of the stockpile are scheduled to be moved before the end of the year, but OPCW has announced that delays may be imminent due to the security situation on the ground in Syria.