Operation RECSYR marks the culmination of the diplomatic efforts to eliminate chemical weapons from the Syrian Regime and the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118, which calls for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons programme. HMS Diamond took over responsibility for Operation RECSYR on 24 February 2014 from HMS Montrose alongside Limassol, Cyprus.

The maritime Task Group works within the framework of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons United Nations Joint Mission (OPCW-UN).  The OPCW-UN is mandated to oversee the timely elimination of the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Regime in the safest and most secure manner possible whilst the Syrian Regime retains responsibility for organising the ground movement of the chemicals to the Syrian port of Latakia for loading onto the two merchant vessels for onwards destruction. 

Beyond providing protection and escort to the merchant vessels, as one of the most modern and capable air-defence destroyers amongst world navies, HMS Diamond is able to significantly contribute to the Recognised Maritime Picture and provide area air defence to Task Group units.

During this tasking, the ship operates what is known as a “Defence Watch” routine.  This means that, at any one time, at least 50% of the ship’s company are at immediate notice to respond to any external or internal threat and that, within 10 minutes of a threat, the entire ship’s company are able to respond day or night. 

In order to maintain this heightened state of readiness, the ship’s company work a system of watches which can, at times, be gruelling. It is important, therefore, to ensure that the crew are given opportunities to rest and recuperate from these routines.  As such, whenever the ship comes alongside, opportunities are taken for sport and adventurous training activities such as Rugby, Football and watersports.  Despite losing to the 2nd Yorkshire Regiment, based in Cyprus, the team enjoyed the weather and the break as did the spectators.

Now back at sea and on task, the Ship’s Company are dedicating themselves to providing a significant capability to the Task Group; every person on board has an important role to play and know that they are contributing to a necessary and rewarding task, safeguarding lives of civilians in Syria, aiding the stabilisation of the Middle East and in turn protecting our nation’s interests.

HMS Diamond providing air and force protection to MV Taiko, one of the two vessels tasked with carrying Syria’s chemical weapons.