Turkey sends weapons into Lebanon via Syria - report

Turkey is allegedly sending weapons into Lebanon via Syria, Al Arabiya English reported on Thursday citing security sources.

“We are pretty worried about what’s going on. The Turks are sending an incredible amount of weapons into the north,” Al Arabiya English cited a Lebanese army intelligence source as saying following a surveillance operation.

When asked about the flow of Turkish weapons, a senior Lebanese diplomat told Al Arabiya there were no specific details, but “we know they’re active”.

“We are keeping an eye on it and staying in contact with the United States administration,” the diplomat said.

Firas Maksad, an adjunct professor at George Washington University, told Al Arabiya that Turkey might see Lebanon as a relatively easy country in which to extend its sphere of influence.

“There might be growing Turkish involvement in Lebanon and perhaps it is an inexpensive arena for the Turks to play in. It’s readily available and doesn’t cost much,” Maksad said.

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Beirut after the devastating Aug. 4 explosions in Beirut and said that Ankara was offering to rebuild the port.

Çavuşoğlu added that Turkey would grant “citizenship to our brothers who say ‘I am Turkish, I am Turkmen,’ and express their desire to become a citizen. These are our [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s instructions.”