February 15, 2013 / 12:24 PM / 7 years ago

Finland investigates attempted arms shipment to Syria

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish customs officials are investigating an attempt to smuggle arms to Syria through a Helsinki port after intercepting a container with tank spare parts last month.

Customs confiscated the parts found in a container on Finnlines’ Finnsun ship at Vuosaari port. Officials for the company were not immediately available for comment.

The container appeared have been sent from Russia to Syria, customs said in a statement, adding that there had been no requests for permission of such a delivery.

The European Union prohibits the delivery of arms from its countries to Syria, where almost 70,000 people have been killed in two years of civil war, according to the United Nations.

The captain of the ship and Finnlines staff have been questioned, the customs office said, adding that it was also asking for help from other countries.

Russia supplied nearly $1 billion worth of arms to Syria in 2011 and is a longstanding ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen; Editing by Jon Boyle

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