No explosives in cargo seized near Turkey-Syria border: police
REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

ANKARA: Materiel resembling mortar shells seized in a Turkish village near the border with Syria turned out not to contain explosives as initially feared, police said late Friday.

“After analysis it turns out that contrary to press reports the materiel seized looks like mortar shells but is not explosive,” a police statement said.

The items were produced in Turkey and were being transported in a truck whose inventory listed them as geological drilling equipment, the statement said.

Authorities are questioning 10 people in connection with the seizure, it added.

Turkish press reports Saturday said the materiel had been manufactured using the instructions of a Syrian refugee who has lived in Turkey for several months, and were to be sent to Syria where explosive charges would be added.

The refugee, living in a camp in southeastern Turkey, has also been detained, according to the Turkish dailies Milliyet and Hurriyet.

A local governor had told Turkish television Thursday that police had stopped a truck in southern Adana, around 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Syrian border, and seized 1,200 rocket warheads.

The private Dogan news agency reported that in addition to warheads, the authorities also seized various weapons including rockets and bombs.

Turkey, which has cut off ties with the regime in Syria since President Bashar al-Assad’s deadly crackdown on popular dissent in 2011, has backed the opposition fighting to topple the embattled leader.

Turkey has repeatedly denied arming the Syrian rebels.

More than 600,000 Syrians have fled the conflict to Turkey, of whom around 200,000 live in refugee camps.



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