Rockets Hit Syrian Chemical-Transit Port: Insiders

Syrian opposition fighters ride a truck through the town of Deir Ezzor on Monday. Rockets this week reportedly struck a Syrian coastal city where President Bashar Assad's government is turning over chemical-warfare materials for destruction by other governments.
Syrian opposition fighters ride a truck through the town of Deir Ezzor on Monday. Rockets this week reportedly struck a Syrian coastal city where President Bashar Assad's government is turning over chemical-warfare materials for destruction by other governments. (Ahmed Aboud/AFP/Getty Images)

Explosive projectiles this week hit a Syrian port city where the country's regime is shipping away chemical arms for destruction, the ANSA news agency reports.

The strike on Latakia took place on Sunday, when Syrian President Bashar Assad's government was slated to transfer an additional batch of warfare chemicals to the Mediterranean Sea shipping hub, according to Wednesday comments from insiders at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Officials delayed a separate delivery of arms substances, citing threats to chemical stocks in transit through the war-divided nation, the OPCW sources said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denounced what it called a "new, extremely dangerous attempt by extremists to block the [removal of] chemical weapons and components of chemical arms from Syria," Interfax reported.

"We resolutely condemn such actions, which are glaring violations of Resolution 2118 of the U.N. Security Council and seriously hamper the efforts of the Syrian government to fulfill its commitments without delay," spokesman Alexander Lukashevich added in prepared comments.

"We see it as an urgent need that all interested parties should continue their efforts to ensure the secure transportation of components of chemical weapons," Lukashevich stated. "To lay all the responsibility for the implementation of this task on the Syrian government means to juggle with facts."

Assad's government agreed to surrender its chemical arsenal last year, after an August nerve-gas strike in rebel territory prompted calls for foreign military intervention against the regime. Western governments have criticized Damascus for allowing the disarmament operation to fall behind schedule, but the government has blamed the delays on threats to chemical shipments from its opponents.

March 13, 2014
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Explosive projectiles this week hit a Syrian port city where the country's regime is shipping away chemical arms for destruction, the ANSA news agency reports.

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