The New York Times recently reported claims by senior-level American security officials that the Iranian administration continues to provide arms to Syria through Iraqi airspace without undergoing inspections.
The New York Times states that the Washington Administration's efforts to persuade Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have "been largely unsuccessful." According to intelligence officials, the weapons being supplied to Assad via the air corridor over Iraq include rockets, antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenade and mortars.
The New York Times article also included statements from Iraqi officials pertaining to the issue. Ali al-Musawi, Spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki states, "We wouldn't be able to convince them, even if we searched all the airplanes, because they have prejudged the situation." Musawi was also quoted as stating, "Our policy is that we will not allow the transfer of arms to Syria." The article also reminded of an April 3rd phone call from U.S. President Obama to Prime Minister Maliki to tell him the flights needed to stop.
Meanwhile, according to official documents accessed by ProPublica, an investigative journalism newsroom, in late October, Syria officially requested Iraqi authorities grant air access to Russian attack helicopters being transported to Syria. The report states that with Turkish and European airspace off limits to Syrian arms shipments, Assad needs Iraq's air corridor in order to allow access from Russia.
Mortars continue to cross the border from Syria
While conflict ensues nearby the Babel Hawa border gate, two mortars landed in locations near the Oğulpınar and Bükülmez villages in Hatay's Reyhanlı district. Violent clashes persisted throughout the day yesterday, while at least 15 people were killed from a blast of a bomb-laden vehicle in Homs. Yesterday alone, 56 people were killed in Syria, while the death toll over the past two days has neared 250.
Syrian state television has announced that there are dead and wounded amongst the 21 Lebanese that fell into a Syrian army ambush in Homs. While 44 Syrian refugees entered Turkey yesterday, four refugees receiving medical treatment did not survive.