Five Turks, who were the assistants of Haitam Kassap, a Syrian citizen accused of buying chemical weapons, are reported to have been released soon after the arrest. Officials explained that chemicals found during the search weren’t chemical weapons. The prosecution, in its turn, in a 132-page document, prepared for the court, demanded to sentence the Syrian and five Turkish citizens to 25 and 15 years in prison respectively.
The prosecutor paid special attention to the term “terrorism”. He enumerated terror attacks carried out by al-Qaeda on the Turkish territory from 2003 to 2010, saying that terrorists targeted diplomatic missions and commercial organizations from the US, UK and Israel.
The document also says that radical Salafis groups set up a channel for carrying out terrorist attacks in Turkey. The prosecutor gave examples of calls spread by the groups which incited military actions in Syria and Egypt. The document also mentioned that the al-Nusra front sought ways to perpetrate attacks.
Besides, the al-Nusra front and Ahrar al-Sham group were said to have tried to buy large amounts of sarin nerve gas, which affects the nervous system, and chemical substances used in manufacturing poisons.
The prosecution believes that the suspects have links to Syrian groups close to al-Qaeda and their leaders. In conclusion the prosecution noted that 15 tonnes of chemical weapons could kill all the living creatures within 62.5 km. Judging by telephone calls made by the suspects, in all they ordered ten tones of chemicals.
“The claim that the suspects didn’t know about the possibility of producing sarin nerve gas from the chemicals they tried to buy is not true which was established when they were testifying,” the document says.
Kassap agreed to accusations and told police about his connections with the Islamist group.
“I’m a Syrian from Homs. My family immigrated to Saudi Arabia many years ago because my father was sentenced to death penalty in Syria. I was born and grew up there. I started taking steps to help groups opposing the Syrian government. I met one of the leaders of Arhar al-Sham, Ebu Walid. By his instruction, I went to Antakya in the Hatay Province (near the border with Syria) and rent a flat there. After my arrival various groups opposing the Syrian regime contacted me. Some of them asked for medicine and humanitarian aid and others – for military equipment,” Kassap said testifying.
Police carried out an operation on May 28 after receiving a message that someone was trying to buy chemicals in Adana and Gaziantep. 11 people were detained, five of whom were released after the interrogation. Mass media reported that two kilograms of sarin gas, arms, ammunition and documents were seized during the search. According to the investigation, the seized chemicals weren’t sarin gas but antifreeze. As the results of the search weren’t published, local and international media suggested it was sarin. The Turkish Vatan newspaper wrote that detainees had been preparing explosions at the Incirlik military base in Adana and the Gaziantep province.
Meanwhile, the Radical newspaper reported that the released Turkish citizens had returned to Syria and joined the al-Nusra front. So the story is likely to be continued.