MOSCOW Dec 18 Russia is ready to provide
security at the Syrian port of Latakia and in Syrian waters
while the country's chemical weapons arsenal is destroyed,
Itar-Tass news agency quoted a Russian official as saying on
Syria is due to hand over deadly toxins which can be used to
make sarin, VX gas and other lethal agents under an
international agreement forged after an attack on the outskirts
of Damascus which killed hundreds in August.
"Russia ... said it will provide security for Latakia and
Syria's territorial waters during the operation to destroy the
chemical weapons," state-run Itar-Tass quoted Vasily Titushkin,
a deputy to Russia's representative at the Organisation for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, as saying.
Russia has said it plans to provide vehicles and help
transport chemical weapons to Latakia from sites elsewhere in
Syria, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Russian navy
was ready to escort ships removing the stockpile.
The chemicals will be destroyed on board a specially adapted
U.S. ship because they are too dangerous to import into any
country. There is no agreement yet on where the ship will anchor
while the work is carried out.
Russia has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main
international ally during the civil war that began in 2011. It
initiated the agreement under which Syria agreed to destroy its
chemical arms to avert possible U.S. military strikes.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Editing by Timothy Heritage)