More than 1,000 vehicles stolen in Turkey have been sent to Syria to be used by ISIL terrorists in clashes in Syria and Iraq, a Turkish daily reports.
According to the Milliyet newspaper, citing an intelligence report, there are around 1,800 vehicles, which have been stolen in Turkey since 2013 and illegally taken into Syria that are now being used by ISIL militants.
After arming these vehicles, many of which are pickup trucks and panel vans, the al-Qaeda splinter group uses the vehicles in clashes in Iraq and Syria, the report says.
ISIL has also been working on obtaining stolen vehicles from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; however; most of the stolen vehicles are from Turkey, the report says.
Milliyet reported that ISIL has been operating with gangs of thieves in Turkey to obtain these vehicles. The al-Qaeda splinter group let the gang members know the type and number of vehicles they want. The gangs then steal the vehicles in the big and border cities and change the license plates before sending them on to Syria. After the stolen vehicles are sent to the southeastern border cities, they pass the vehicles on to brokers. Brokers then sell the vehicles to ISIL, according to the report.
While vehicles such as small trucks and pickups have been used for transporting heavy arms, panel vans are used for bomb attacks, Milliyet reported. Stolen vehicles are also reportedly sold to other armed groups in Syria.