Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said his Navy was ordered to stop
weapons shipments to the Assad regime through the Mediterranean Sea or by
air. Erdogan said one Syrian weapons shipment was already intercepted by the
"Turkey has arrested a ship flying the Syrian flag and carrying
weapons," Erdogan said on Sept. 23.
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In a briefing at the United Nations, the prime minister did not say when
the Syrian ship was seized or the origin of the weapons. Iran has been
Syria's leading military ally and supplier of weapons and equipment to quell
the six-month revolt against Damascus.
"If in the future arms shipments are made by air or land, we will stop
and seize them as we have done," Erdogan said.
Officials said Ankara, in coordination with the United States, has
decided to sever relations with the Assad regime and bolster support to the
Syrian opposition. They said the government has been hosting a growing
opposition leadership in Turkey as well as bolstering its military
relationship along the border with Syria.
Turkey has also been consulting with neighboring Iran over Syria and
other regional issues. Erdogan said Ankara has sought to expand an Iranian
intelligence exchange on the Kurdish threat in Iraq.
"We already cooperate in the field of intelligence to combat terrorism,"
Erdogan said. "We may undertake a joint effort over [Iraq's] Kandil."