Turkish customs officials intercepted four trucks on Tuesday suspected of carrying military equipment from Iran to Syria, a Turkish provincial governor has said.
The governor of Kilis province said the trucks were confiscated at the Öncüpınar border crossing into Syria after police received information about their cargo. “The four trucks were confiscated by customs. They are alleged to be carrying military equipment,” Governor Yusuf Odabaş said. He added that experts were being sent from Ankara to examine the cargo.
Turkey imposed economic sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad's government in November, having earlier implemented an arms embargo in protest of Assad's violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters who took to the streets in March. Turkey abandoned its past friendship with Assad to side with protesters and has set up camps on its southeast border to host thousands of refugees who have fled the violence in their homeland.
Syria has also been suspended from the Arab League, leaving Damascus with few friends outside of Tehran. Iran's support for Assad reflects sectarian ties, as Assad's minority Alawite sect has links to Shi'ite Islam, which is predominant in Iran. Most of Turkey's Muslims, like the majority of Syrians, are Sunni.