Turkey holds Syria-bound Iranian 'military cargo'

Four trucks en route to Syria intercepted by Turkish customs; official says cargo alleged to be military equipment.

By REUTERS
January 10, 2012 18:30
1 minute read.
Turkish soldier examining cargo [illustrative]

Turkish soldier examining seized cargo 311 . (photo credit: REUTERS/POOL New)

ISTANBUL - Turkish customs officials intercepted four trucks on Tuesday suspected of carrying military equipment from Iran to Syria, a Turkish provincial governor, said

The governor of Kilis province said the trucks were confiscated at the Oncupinar border crossing into Syria after police received information about their cargo, according to Dogan news agency.

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"The four trucks were confiscated by customs. They are alleged to be carrying military equipment," Governor Yusuf Odabas said. He said experts were being sent from Ankara to examine the cargo.

Turkey imposed economic sanctions on President Bashar Assad's government in November, having earlier implemented an arms embargo in protest at Assad's violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters who took to the streets in March.

Turkey abandoned its past friendship with Assad to side with protesters, and has set up camps on its southeast border to host thousands of refugees who have fled the violence in their homeland.

Syria has also been suspended from the Arab League, leaving Damascus with few friends outside of Tehran.

Iran's support for Assad reflects sectarian ties, as Assad's minority Alawite sect has links with the Shi'ite Islam followed in Iran. Most of Turkey's Muslims, like the majority of Syrians, are Sunni.


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