Half-ton of explosives seized near Syrian border
The explosives were recovered from a truck parked near a tent camp of Syrians living on the rebel-controlled territories.
Police claim the stuff was trafficked to carry out attacks in Turkey.
On May 29, Turkish media reported about the detention of the alleged Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front militants with 2kg of sarin gas.
The gas was reportedly to be used in a bomb targeting the Incirlik military base in Adana and the border province of Gaziantep.
Turkey’s government denied the information.
On May 11, the volatile town Reyhanlı was hit by the two blasts which claimed the lives of 52 people.
Several men detained in Turkey’s southern Adana province on Thursday, who are suspected of links to Al-Nusra Front extremist group close to Al-Qaeda, had been preparing to attack the Indzhirlik military base on Syrian border. Turkish security force seized some amount of sarin gas that had been transported to Turkey from Libya by plane, Al Watan newspaper says.
“It has turned out that Al-Qaeda members who have failed to stage attacks in Turkey had been trained in Syria and had tested explosives”, the paper says.
In late 2012 a Libyan man was arrested at Sabiha Gökçen Airport in Istanbul. He was on his way to Syria via Turkey and attempted to bring an explosive aboard a plane to Adana. Now security forces are investigating whether sarin gas could have been brought to Turkey the same way.
Earlier it was reported that Turkish special anti-terror forces have detained 12 people suspected of having links with Al Nusra Front, the al Qaida-allied Syrian rebel group that has been set to topple President Assad’s regime. The group was seized in southern Turkey. Local media reported they carried a 2kg cylinder with nerve agent sarin.
But later Turkish media reported that governor of Adana province, Huseyin Avni Cos, has dismissed reports that 12 detained suspects had nerve gas sarin.
"We cannot reveal any organisation names right now, but their links will be evident after the questioning," governor Huseyin Avni Cos was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.
Radikal daily reported the police have also confiscated two kilogrammes of sarin gas, a powerful neurotoxin, from safe houses in Adana, some 150 kilometres from the border with Syria.
However, Cos said "there is no gas or anything of that sort captured as claimed," adding that they had found "some chemicals" that were still being studied by experts.
Six of the suspects have been released after questioning and the other six are still being held following the raids in the cities of Istanbul, Adana and Mersin, according to the governor.
The raids follow twin car bombings in the border town of Reyhanli on May 11, which killed 52 people and raised fears of the growing impact of the Syrian conflict in Turkey.
Meanwhile, local papers have reported that a minibus full of explosives was spotted in the streets of Adana. The car was said to be of the same model as the one that blew up in Reyhanli. It was also reported that security forces were involved in a special operation, but governor of Adana province, Huseyin Avni Cos, has denied the reports.
“Spreading rumors that make people panic is a wrong thing to do. Nobody should take unconfirmed reports at face value. Police and special task forces are thoroughly checking all intelligence data in accordance with their obligations. Let all citizens remain calm”, Mr. Cos said.
Sarin is a clear, colorless, odorless and tasteless liquid that has no odor in its pure form, used as a chemical weapon owing to its extreme potency as a nerve agent. It can evaporate and spread as a vapor into the environment.
People can be exposed to sarin through skin or eye contact, contamination of food and water, by breathing air, or through another person’s clothing – if they have been in contact with it.
When sarin enters a person’s body, it prevents glands and muscles from functioning properly. The resulting health effects are difficulty breathing, fatigue, blurred vision, excessive sweating, confusion and varying levels of heart rate and blood pressure. Exposure to a large dosage of sarin gas can result in paralysis and respiratory failure, leading to death.
Sarin has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction in UN Resolution 687.
The first use of large-scale chemical warfare was on April 22, 1915 in Belgium when the German army killed or injured 5,000 Allied soldiers by releasing 150 tons of chlorine gas.
By 1937, German chemist Gerhard Schrader had developed an insecticide sarin, that the Nazis soon realized was a more toxic agent than chlorine gas. Though they did not use it in World War II.
In 1988, around 5,000 Kurds died at Halahbja after Iraq used both sarin and sulfur mustard.
In 1995 sarin was used in Tokyo subway attack in which the religious cult Aum Shinrykio used the chemical to kill 12 people and harm thousands more.
Voice of Russia, RIA, wikipedia.org, Fox News, the Atlantic, Interfax, dailystar.com.lb