Austria ‘shipped arms to Syria’

Austria supplied Syria with armoured vehicles in 2006, according to an investigation by Amnesty International (AI).

The group announced yesterday (Weds) Austrian firms delivered vehicles of such kind worth two million Euros to the Arabian country that year. AI added the same type of vehicles were shipped from Austria to Yemen in 2006.

AI criticised Italy and Austria for being the only countries allowing the delivery of weapons, ammunition and other equipment for violent conflicts to Syria between 2005 and 2009. Thousands of peaceful protesters calling for reforms and democracy were killed in Syria in the past months.

AI checked which countries transferred ammunition to Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain from 2005 to 2009. The non-governmental organisation (NGO) said the Austrian armament industry did business with all of the states – which experienced unrest throughout the current year – except Libya in that period.

AI’s report casts shadows on state leaders calling for peace and human rights in the Arab region and North Africa while arms shipped to the countries were used against both the anti-government forces formed by rebels and unarmed demonstrators. The United States, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic were also identified as main locations for armament industry companies doing business with the regimes in the five aforementioned countries.