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US military cargo plane spotted at Lebanese airbase Open in fullscreen

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US military cargo plane spotted at Lebanese airbase

Zahle is a majority Christian city with a large Syrian refugee population [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 April, 2017

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A US transport plane was spotted on the tarmac at Lebanon's Riyaq airbase on Monday, sparking questions from baffled residents in nearby Zahle.
A US military transport plane has been spotted at an airport in eastern Lebanon during a brief stopover leaving local residents in Zahle baffled.

The US air force C-130 transport plane stopped briefly on the tarmac at Riyaq airbase, near Zahle, at around noon on Monday before taking off again around two hours later, according to Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper.

Photos of the aircraft were shared on social media with questions asked over the purpose of the stopover. 

Local sources told the Daily Star that the transport plane dropped off a consignment of artillery and heavy weaponry agreed between the US and Lebanese government during a visit by the head of the US Senate foreign affairs committee Bob Corker last month.

This weaponry will be used by the Lebanese military in its fight against Islamic State group militants in Arsal, which lies close to the Syrian border.

Sources told the Lebanese newspaper that US aircraft have regularly dropped military equipment off at Riyaq air base, but this appears to be the first delivery during daylight hours sparking the attention of local residents.

Riyaq is one of Lebanon's largest airbases, and home to most of the country's small number of military aircraft.

It is also said to be the planned home for US-supplied A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.

Lebanese pilots are being trained to fly the light strike planes by US personnel in Georgia, US.

These will likely be used for strikes on IS positions and reconnaissance missions near the Syrian border.

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