Turkey, already on the brink of a conflict with Syria, may now be facing tensions with Moscow after grounding a flight from Russia on suspicion that it was carrying weapons for the Syrian regime
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Turkey forced a Damascus-bound passenger plane suspected of ferrying Russian weapons to Syria to land at an Ankara airport yesterday, just hours after a Turkish military commander said Turkey would respond more strongly to Syrian bombardments in its territory.
The Syrian-owned Airbus A-320 passenger plane traveling from Moscow to Damascus and carrying 30 passengers was grounded last night based on intelligence that it was shuttling “non-civilian cargo,” reports Reuters.
Syria accused Turkey of “air piracy” following the incident, Lebanon’s al-Manar TV quoted Syrian Transport Minister Mahoumd Said as saying, according to a separate Reuters report. The station quotes Mr. Said as saying that the landing “contradicts civil aviation treaties."
After a five-hour inspection and confiscation of cargo, Turkey allowed the plane to continue on to Syria, reports Russian news agency RIA Novosti. There have been varying accounts of what Turkey may have found on board, but no definitive statement from Turkish officials on what, if anything, they found.
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