18/04/2011

Authorities Seize Huge Weapons Consignment Bound for Syria


Tishreen Newspaper ‏

English Website, Syria Millennium ‏

The authorities seized on Sunday April the 17th 2011 a huge consignment of weapons in a refrigerator truck driven by an Iraqi in a bid to smuggle it from Iraq to Syria via al-Tanf border crossing. ‏

Director-General of Syrian Customs Mustapha al-Bikai said the weapons seized comprise up-to-date machine guns of various kinds, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, night-vision scopes, grenade launchers and large quantities of various kinds of ammunition. ‏

He said the weapons were hidden in a 12-meter-long secret compartment, well-prepared and equipped with compressors for opening it, adding that the weapons were enveloped in a tin material so as not to be detected by devices. ‏

Bikai said other weapons consignments have been seized lately as there were attempts at smuggling them into Syria via Bab al-Hawa, as-Salama, Jdaidet Yabous crossings. ‏

``Transport and passengers` movement continue as usual,`` said al-Bikai, answering a question on the situation at the border crossing following seizure of the consignment. ‏

The Iraqi driver Hussein Karim Jabbar confessed to the Syrian Sattelite Channel that he received USD 20,000 per trip. ‏

"I work as a transport truck driver… I entered Syria through al-Tanf border crossing with a large shipment of weapons that includes various kinds of advanced machine guns, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, night-vision scopes, grenade launchers and large quantities of various kinds of ammo and machine gun magazines," Jabbar said. ‏

Jabbar said that he met Maher Mehdi who owns an oven and delivers bread to the Iraqi army and began working with him and the two become close friends. After a while, Mehdi told him that he will do him a favor by sending weapons to Syria in exchange for a large sum of money. ‏

He said that his truck, which carries the license plate number 85714, was loaded with weapons on 15/4/2011 and arrived at al-Tanf border crossing at night. He was waiting for a phone call from an anonymous person that was supposed to receive the shipment in al-Dumair area and take Jabbar to an undisclosed location to unload the weapons. ‏

"I don`t know the person I was supposed to deliver the weapons to. The agreement was that Maher Mehdi who owns the oven to give my number to someone in Syria who would contact me. The password was supposed to be Maher repeated three times," Jabbar said.‏