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Daily Israel Report

Turkey: 47 Tons of Weapons to Syria 'For Sports'

Following reports of huge weapon exports to Syrian rebel forces, Turkish Defense Minister claims 'non-military' weapons sent.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 12/17/2013, 8:35 PM

(Illustration)
(Illustration)
Thinkstock

Responding to recent reports revealing that Turkey has shipped over 47 tons of weaponry to Syrian rebel forces over the past few months, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz claimed Tuesday that weapons "without military uses" had been exported.

Yilmaz, whose comments came during a speech at the Turkish Parliament's General Assembly during budget debates for the 2014 fiscal year, admitted the arms exports after having previously denied them, reports Hurriyet Daily News.

The defense minister's partial disclosure claiming guns for "sports" usage did not specify who the "recreational" weapons had been sent to in Syria.

Turkish weapons have been pouring into Syria since June according to reports by UN Comtrade (the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database). The exports have seen a recent upsurge, with almost 29 tons of arms transferred in September alone.

In his hedging admission, Yilmaz stated "no war weapons have been exported to Syria. In 2013, no gun has gone from Turkey to Syria. What has been exported is ungrooved hunting rifles and blank firing guns. Other than that, any export by us is out of the question."

Just in November, a cargo truck carrying 12,000 rocket heads, as well as missiles, bazookas, bombs and guns was seized in the Turkish city of Adana, near the Syrian border.

While Adana Governor Huseyin Avni Cos at the time claimed the capture showed Turkey wasn't supporting Syrian opposition forces, skeptics accused Turkey of either botching an arms delivery, or catching a delivery that normally receives a blind eye.