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SYRIA

Norwegian ship leaves to pick up Syria weapons

The Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad on Monday night set sail for Syria, where it will take part in the collection of Syria's chemical weapons, guarding them as they are transported to the middle of the Mediterranean for disposal.

Norwegian ship leaves to pick up Syria weapons
KNM Helge Ingstad - Bjørnar Henningsen
Norway’s foreign minister Børge Brende in November committed Norway to helping remove Syria’s stockpile from the country, once weapons inspectors from the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have finished their work. 
 
KNM Helge Ingstad has been given the job of defending the commercial freighter carrying the dangerous cargo out to US military vessels, who have committed to destroying it at sea. 
 
“We will collect chemical weapons and components for chemical weapons at a port in Syria, and we will carry it where it should be discarded,” Commander Nils Andreas Stensønes told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. 
 
At at 23.00 the ship will leave its port in Bergen. 
The OPCW expects its inspections to be complete before the New Year, and Stensønes expects his ship’s mission to be completed by the end of February. 

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SYRIA

Nato ally Norway suspends new arms exports to Turkey

Norway, a Nato ally of Turkey, announced Thursday it was suspending all new arms exports to the country after Ankara launched a military offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

Nato ally Norway suspends new arms exports to Turkey
Smoke rising from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad on October 10th. Photo: AFP

“Given that the situation is complex and changing quickly, the foreign ministry as a precautionary measure will not handle any new demands for exports of defence material or material for multiple uses… to Turkey,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in an email sent to AFP.

She added that the ministry would also review all licenses for arms exportation that have already been issued.

Syria's Kurds, who were the West's allies in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists, were battling Thursday to hold off a Turkish invasion as thousands of civilians fled air strikes and shelling that deepened fears of a humanitarian crisis and raised international alarm.

Finland, which is not a member of the Nato alliance, announced on Wednesday the suspension of all new arms exports to Turkey or any other country involved in the fighting.

READ ALSO: Norway decides against participation in Nato missile defence system