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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Turkey intercepted arms shipment from Iran to Syria

From Today's Zaman:
Turkish diplomatic sources approached by Today's Zaman have confirmed that an arms shipment from Iran to Syria was intercepted by Turkey.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources said the incident took place two-and--half months ago in the southeastern province of Kilis. The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was already aware of the transportation in a convoy of trucks.

Turkish officials said the original transport papers designated the shipment as “spare parts for guns” when Iranians declared them to custom officials upon entry. An examination of the contents revealed that it matched the declaration. Yet Turkish officials suspected the shipment may have violated the UN arms embargo imposed by the Security Council and decided to seize the contents.

As there was no explicit violation of Turkish law and the declaration matched the contents, the driver and trucks were either released or about to be released, the same official said. The contents however were stored in a safe depot.

A news report that appeared on Israeli website ynetnews.com on Thursday quoted the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, saying an arms shipment was intercepted by Turkey. The German daily reported that unnamed diplomatic sources said the weapons were meant for Hezbollah.

On another incident in April, it emerged that Turkey had seized a cache of weapons Iran was attempting to export in violation of a UN arms embargo. Turkish authorities later informed a UN Security Council committee of the interception.

(h/t Yoel)