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Turkey declines UN report on arms smuggling to Al Qaeda

Turkey declines UN report on arms smuggling to Al Qaeda

ISTANBUL:  Turkey dismissed a United Nation report which claimed arms were reaching militants affiliated to the Al Qaeda in Syria via Turkey.“Claims are baseless,” Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson, Tanju Bilgic said, adding that Turkey has conveyed its reaction to the UN reporte.

The UN report penned by the analytical support and sanctions monitoring team, to be presented to the UN Security Council (UNSC) claimed that most of the arms smuggled for the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Nusra Front (ANF) militants were transferred through the Turkish territory.

“The arms and ammunition come from stored materials that date back to the 1980s and 1990s, along with more recent supplies. Most supplies have either been seized from the armed forces of Iraq, or (to a lesser extent) the Syrian Arab Republic, or have been smuggled to the IS and ANF, primarily by routes that run through Turkey,” said the report released Nov 14.

Ankara has asked the UN for an explanation of the grounds on which the claims were made in the report, the spokesperson said.

Turkey has designated the IS and the ANF as terrorist groups, Bilgic said, adding that Ankara has been strongly fighting these groups.

The UN analytic support group officials visited Turkey in September, but did not raise any issue on the smuggling claims, although the meeting was on the issue of the fight against the IS.