Turkey denies arms sent to Syrian rebels

Aug. 25, 2013 at 11:18 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Two unnamed Turkish diplomats denied reports Sunday that a consignment of 400 tons of arms had been sent to Syrian opposition forces from Turkey.

"As has been the case with similar news reports in the past, this claim is definitely not true," the diplomat told the Hurriyet Daily News.

"Our general policy on Syria is clear. We only provide humanitarian and logistical support to the country," an unnamed senior Turkish diplomat told Today's Zaman.

The Turkish response came just hours after Syrian opposition officials reported a shipment of arms financed by the gulf countries had been sent to assist the rebels in their fight against the Syrian regime. The reports said the arms entered Syria on trucks from the Turkish province of Hatay.

The Syrian government meanwhile said Sunday it would permit the team of U.N. inspectors to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in areas surrounding Damascus on Aug. 22, the official Syrian news agency SANA said.

"The government agrees that the team, headed by Professor Ake Sellstrom, should coordinate with the Syrian government on the date and time of the team's visit to the sites agreed upon by the two sides," the agency said.

Prime Minister Walid al-Moallem said Syria is willing to cooperate with the U.N. investigators to expose the "false allegations of the terrorist groups accusing the Syrian forces of using chemical weapons in eastern Ghouta," the news agency said.

The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights said hundreds of people were killed and injured, including women and children, by chemical weapons used by the Syrian army in bombings at several sites outside Damascus at dawn last Wednesday.

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