Banned chemicals bound for Syria seized in Saudi

Newspaper says items used in making weapons were returned to China

Saudi port authorities seized internationally-banned chemical items used in making weapons sent by China to conflict-battered Syria, a newspaper in the Gulf Kingdom reported on Sunday.

The substances were concealed in 11 containers seized at the Western Red Sea port of Jeddah this week, the Arabic language Sharq said,

It quoted port sources as saying a Saudi-based global shipping company was involved in the smuggling of the items.

“The substances seized are used in the manufacturing of weapons….they originated from China and were destined for Syria,” it said, adding that the shipment was sent back to China. The paper gave no other details.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil producers have been among the staunchest supporters of a people’s revolt seeking to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. China and Russia have backed Al Assad, who has ruled Syria for nearly 10 years following the death of his father Hafez Al Assad.