Turkey forces one Syrian, 5 Iranian arms planes to land
August 20, 2006, 11:47 AM (GMT+02:00)
Six Iranian ILDT type 4-cargo planes and a Syrian aircraft were forced to land at the southeast Turkish military airport last Thursday after US spy satellites spotted they were loaded with missiles, missile launchers and eight boxes of Chinese made C-802 missiles, dubbed by Iran “Nur.”
DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose: The flights were bound for Damascus and Syrian military air bases just across the Turkish border. The C-802 is the advanced ground-ship missile which crippled the Israeli Navy’s gunship off Beirut, and killed three of its crew on July 14, two days after the outbreak of the Lebanon war. Searches by the Turkish authorities disclosed that one of the planes was carrying crates of Fajer rockets which Hizballah fired at Israeli towns. Two of the Iranian cargo planes have not been permitted to take off from Turkey unless they fly back to Iran.
Four flights, carrying light ammunition including anti-tank weapons, were allowed to complete their journey to Syria after their pilots presented documents proving they were purchased in Iran for the Syrian army.
DEBKAfile adds: This is the first time American military satellites have been openly revealed to have aided in the UN embargo against arms transfers from Syria and Iran to the Hizballah.
DEBKAfile’s military sources also disclose that the Iranian and Syrian cargo flights were bound for three Syrian military airfields, two of which were transferred at the end of July to the control and supervision of the air wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The flight carrying the C-802 missile was destined for the military section of Damascus’ Mezze international airport. The launchers and Fajer rockets would have been unloaded at Syria’s Nasiriya air base, 40 km from the Lebanese border. The anti-tank rockets and ammunition were bound for al Qusayr, north of Damascus and only 25 km from Lebanon’s northern Beqaa Valley.