Ship carrying refurbished Russian attack helicopters stopped on way to Syria


A cargo ship that has been accused of transporting refurbished Russian attack helicopters, missiles and munitions to Syria has been stopped off the coast of Scotland.

The Standard Club withdrew MV Alaed's insurance as it travelled off Scotland's north coast, preventing the vessel from sailing until those responsible for it can secure a new policy. The Standard Club said it withdrew the vessel's insurance because the ship's owners had broken internal rules of the club.

It is thought that the attack helicopters onboard the ship consist of Mi-25 Hind helicopters, the export version of Russia's Mi-24, and satellite imagery appeared to show Mi-25 helicopter gunships at an airfield in Shayrat, Syria, earlier this month. Recent reports from the country have also alleged the use of Mi-8 gunships to attack a hospital in Tall Rifat.

"We are working closely with international partners to ensure that we are doing all we can to stop the Syrian regime's ability to slaughter civilians being reinforced through assistance from other countries."

Whereas the Russian embassy in London is yet to comment, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has said it is unclear where the vessel would travel to now.

Although Syria is currently under a European Union arms embargo because of the ongoing crisis within the country, both the UK and US have raised concerns about shipments of weapons said to be coming from Russia.

A statement issued by the FCO confirmed that foreign secretary William Hague told Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that all defence shipments to Syria must stop.

"We are working closely with international partners to ensure that we are doing all we can to stop the Syrian regime's ability to slaughter civilians being reinforced through assistance from other countries," the statement added.