US to Britain: Stop Russian Arms Shipment to Syria

Washington wants cargo ship's insurer to withdraw its cover
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2012 2:36 PM CDT
A Syrian army helicopter hovers above a national flag bearing a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Washington is putting its foot down—or at least asking Britain to put its foot down—over alleged shipments of attack helicopters to Syria, the Telegraph reports. US officials have enlisted Britain to stop a Russian ship from delivering its cargo to Syria, by having the ship's insurer, based in London, withdraw its cover. Then the Russian-operated cargo ship, the MV Alaed, would find it hard to legally dock in most ports and may have to return home.

Russia claims the helicopter shipment is just fulfilling an old agreement, but critics say the Ml25 "flying tanks" could wreak heavy damage on Syrian rebels and escalate an already worsening conflict. The syndicate director who oversees the ship's insurance seemed to support a move against the Alaed, saying that "for anyone involved in improper or unlawful trade, we can cancel cover." The latest shipping records show that the Alaed was near Denmark's west coast on Thursday and heading south toward the English Channel. (Read more Syrian uprising stories.)

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