World News

Syria says seizes weapons smuggled from Iraq

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria said Friday security forces seized a large shipment of weapons and explosives and night-vision goggles this week in a truck coming from Iraq.

The official news agency SANA said the shipment, intercepted at the Tanaf border crossing Monday, was intended “for use in actions that affect Syria’s internal security and spread unrest and chaos.”

It did not say how many weapons were seized. But published pictures showing dozens of grenades and pistols as well as rifles and ammunition belts.

The agency quoted the driver of the truck as saying the weapons had been loaded in Baghdad, and that he had been told he would be paid $5,000 to deliver them in Syria.

Iraq withdrew its ambassador from Syria in 2009 after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accused Damscus of sheltering two people he said were behind bomb attacks in Baghdad that killed 100 people. Syria reciprocated immediately.

But relations between the two countries improved last year and the two governments agreed to restore ambassadors to each other’s capital in September.

Editing by Mark Heinrich