Bulgarian Weapons Manufacturers Made a Billion in Exports to the Middle East

Bulgarian weapons manufacturers allegedly made grey-market weapons for insurgents in the conflicts in the Middle East, especially the Civil war in Syria and Yemen.


1 Billion Leva made in firearm exports in 2016


Bulgarian arms manufacturers are reported to have taken part in the CIA arming operation called “Timber Sycamore.” The desired effect of the operation was to arm the anti-Assad insurgents within the country. The operation didn’t work out as planned, and a large portion of the weapons and funds  sent to the rebels and may have ended up in the hands of ISIS, the savage terrorist organization that killed thousands of innocents within the region.


Deutsche Welle wrote, “The Bulgarian arms industry is flourishing because the United States is buying billions of dollars worth of weapons for shipments to Iraq and Syria.” The site also mentions Kintex, a weapons manufacturer that’s run by the Bulgarian government as the main source of the guns. The firm was recently involved in a scandal when the licensing of the Bulgarian weapons compound Emco was ceased by the Ministry of Economy.


Many Bulgarian-made weapons were found in the conflict. Small-arms, artillery shells, and a large chunk of the ammunition used by ISIS are reported to have been made in Bulgaria. The large bump of the manufacturing in 2016 seems hard to explain otherwise. The main buyers of the military hardware are the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. The initial shipments were made through an airforce base in the German town of Ramstein without permission from the German government.

Alex Dimchev

Alex Dimchev is a writer, editor, and weapons master for EUscoop.com

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