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Red Bull helps fuel IS militants in Syria

Islamic State militants controlling border crossings profit from tolls and fees on imports, experts said.

By Ben Hooper
Red Bull helps fuel IS militants in Syria
A Red Bull delivery truck. File / Laszlo Halasi / Shutterstock.com

ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Trucks filled with Red Bull are being transported daily across the Turkish border into Syria via crossings controlled by Islamic State militants.

Turkish trade statistics published in Ankara revealed Turkey has been shipping goods into Syria including truckloads of the energy drink.

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"Every day we have four or five trucks carrying Red Bulls to Syria," Mustafa Yilmaz, owner of Turkish trucking company Cem-Ay Transport, told The Local.

Yilmaz said the buyers on the Syrian side don't identify themselves to drivers and the goods are transferred to other trucks on the other side of the border crossings, which are controlled by rebel groups Free Syrian Army, Islamic Front and Islamic State.

Experts said the militants are likely profiting from the trade.

"Whoever controls either side of any international border claims license to exact tolls and fees," Francis Ricciardone, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey told Bloomberg. "Where there is no law, criminal gangs will extort all that the market will bear."

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