Export of arms from Balkans out of control – Cyprus Mail

In 2015, the world was shocked by the armed attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Yugoslav-made Zastava M70 rifles assault rifles were used by the terrorist attackers.

Yugoslav-designed anti-tank launchers have been found in many parts of Syria, in the hands of various rebel groups.

Bulgarian weapons exported to Turkey have been found in Libya both in the hands of the U.N. and Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Exports of arms from the Balkans are out of control, according to a report released on Monday by the London-based Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism.

“Weapons produced in the Balkans are often found in the hands of various non-state actors, including Salafist militias and terrorist groups. Their sale brings profit – and possible political favour – to impoverished states in the region, but also to their corrupt officials and various organised crime groups. Ultimately, these sales further erode the credibility of EU foreign and security policy, disrupting peace and stability across, and accentuating the proliferating humanitarian crises in the Middle East,” the Institute Director Thomas Charles told the Cyprus Mail in an interview on Thursday.

Much of the weapons come from a kind of black market stockpile of arms left over from the wars in the former Yugoslavia, Charles explains. “Others find their way out of the inventories of the armed forces through corruption. There is also a serious issue with the diversion of arms from legal exports to terrorist groups and armed militias in countries like Syria,
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