Syria-bound arms arrive in Saudi Arabia first: Report
A recent report has disclosed that large volumes of arms and ammunition, supplied by East European and Balkan states, routinely arrive in Saudi Arabia and a number of other regional countries before reaching militants in conflict-hit Syria.
The Persian service of Germany’s Deutsche Welle news network reported on Monday that the munitions, including Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles, machine guns, grenades as well as anti-tank guns, are initially off-loaded in Saudi airbases and ports before smugglers dispatch them to Syrian militants.
The weapons mostly come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Montenegro, Serbia and Romania.
The report further revealed that the Syria-bound weapons are also exported by air and sea to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey besides Saudi Arabia.
International norms governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment are brazenly flouted, the report said, and a considerable amount of munitions exported from Bulgaria to the aforementioned countries only bear the sign “unknown consignment.”
Such weapons have previously ended up in the hands of such terrorist groups as Daesh, which Saudi Arabia is widely believed to be supporting.
Earlier reports had already exposed that arms were purportedly being trucked into Syria under Turkish military escort, and transferred to militant leaders at prearranged rendezvous.
In May 2015, the center-left Turkish daily Cumhuriyet posted on its website footage showing trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, also known as the MIT, allegedly carrying weapons for militant groups in Syria.
Damascus has long been complaining that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are the main supporters of the militants fighting the Syrian government forces.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.
The United Nations (UN)’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
The UN has stopped officially counting the dead in the Syrian conflict.