Turkey Increases Arms Shipments to Militants in Syria

Turkey Increases Arms  Shipments to Militants in Syria Turkey Increases Arms  Shipments to Militants in Syria

The Syrian Army said on Saturday that Turkey had recently increased supplies of weapons, ammunition and equipment to terrorists in Syria, and accused its northern neighbor of firing shells at Syrian Army positions.

“We have certain information that the Turkish government has recently increased its support to the terrorists and the level of their supplies of weapons, ammunition and equipment necessary to continue their criminal acts,” an army statement said.

Tensions at the Syrian-Turkish border have risen since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday. Many of Russia’s airstrikes have hit militants backed by Assad’s foreign enemies, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United States, Reuters reported.

The statement by the Syrian Army command said weapons were being delivered in shipments that Turkey claimed to be humanitarian assistance. It also alleged the weapons were supplied in exchange for looted Syrian and Iraqi antiquities and oil sold at low prices.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denied accusations his country purchased oil from Islamic State terrorists, saying anyone making such claims must prove them.

The Syrian statement also said Turkey had fired a number of mortar bombs toward Syrian Army positions on Friday night from a location just over the border from Latakia province in northwestern Syria.

The army statement said, “The Turkish authorities deliberately created a state of security chaos at the Syrian-Turkish borders, leading to the easy movement of terrorists from Syria to Europe to carry out their terrorist crimes.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that large quantities of oil and oil products from territory captured by IS had been arriving in Turkey.

  Arrested Journalists Send Letter

Two Turkish journalists charged with “spying” over their reports about Ankara’s alleged arms supplies to Syrian militants urged the EU on Saturday not to compromise on human rights and press freedom as it looks to Turkey to help stem Europe’s migrant crisis.

European Union and Turkish leaders, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, will meet in Brussels on Sunday to complete a deal aimed at stemming the flow of refugees from Syria into the bloc.

Writing from the Silivri prison near Istanbul, the opposition Cumhuriyet daily’s editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul said they hoped the meeting would produce a lasting solution to the crisis “that has concerned and touched all our hearts.”

But they added, “We would also hope that your desire to end the crisis will not stand in the way of your sensitivity towards human rights, freedom of press and expression as fundamental values of the western world.”

“The prime minister of Turkey, whom you will meet this weekend, and the regime he represents are well known for policies and practices that have flouted human rights and freedom of the press,” they said.

The letter was addressed to EU leaders as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

A court in Istanbul on Thursday arrested Dundar and Gul for spying over the publication of footage from January 2014 purporting to show Turkey’s secret services helping send weapons to militants in Syria.

They face up to 45 years in jail if convicted.

The revelations, published in May, caused a political storm in Turkey, with an enraged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing Dundar would pay a “heavy price”.