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  • » 10/11/2012, 00.00

    TURKEY - SYRIA

    Syrian airline flight grounded by Ankara departs. Cargo seized



    According to the Turkish authorities, the cargo included weapons. The Syrian Airlines Airbus A320 from Moscow and was headed to Damascus. On board, 35 passengers and two crew members. Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu,: "Turkey does not want a war in Syria," but it is "unacceptable to use our airspace for such transfers."

    Ankara (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The scheduled Syrian flight blocked and forced to land in Ankara on suspicion of carrying weapons on board has departed. The Syrian Airlines Airbus A320 was traveling from Moscow to Damascus with only 35 passengers - despite having a capacity of 180 people - and two crew members. Yesterday evening, two Turkish jets escorted the flight to Esenboga airport (Ankara), where military personnel carried out security checks. The Turkish authorities have seized some unspecified equipment, then released the plane and passengers around  2:30 am (local time).

    The tension between the two countries has been rekindled in the last week, after a missile fired from Syrian soil killed a Turkish family of five, who lived in a small town just one mile from the border. In response, the Turkish armed forces bombed some locations close to the Syrian border. To calm the situation, Damascus apologized for the death of the family, calling the attack "a tragic accident."

    From Athens, where he is on an official visit, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu said: "We have received information about a plane, carrying a cargo with that does not comply by the rules of civil aviation. We are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime [the Syrian] that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians. " Davutoglu stated that "Turkey does not want a war with Syria," but "it is unacceptable that such transfers take place using our airspace."

    Through the national agency Interfax, Moscow reported that half of the passengers aboard the freighter were Russian citizens, including children. Yelena Krylova, Russian Vnukovo airport spokesman, said that "once a week Syrian Airline flights depart from Moscow to Damascus. Airbus A320 took off in the normal way, without incident"

    Turkey is home to about 100 thousand Syrian refugees, including several members of the rebel Free Syrian Army. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (based in Britain), in 19 months of fighting there were at least 30 thousand victims. Of these, many are children.

    Ankara's intervention in the conflict between the army of Bashar al-Assad and the rebel Free Syrian Army, is due to the involvement of Kurdish separatists in the Kurdish-majority areas in Turkey and Syria. According to Ankara, the regimes in Damascus and Tehran have formed an alliance with the Turkish separatist PKK and its Iranian and Syrian branches to create chaos in the region and limit the movements of the rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) supported by Turkey.

     

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    See also

    09/04/2013 SYRIA
    Damascus denies entry to UN inspection team
    For Syrian authorities, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's request to have a team investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons would constitute a "violation of Syrian sovereignty". In Aleppo, a strange alliance forms among anti-government forces.

    06/09/2012 SYRIA - TURKEY
    Syrian rebels trained in refugee camps on Turkish border
    Ankara claims that the Apaydin camp in the province of Hatay is home to former Syrian military and their families displaced by the Assad regime. But parliament has never discussed the creation of the camp. Authorities prohibit any access to preserve the security of refugees who considered "special". In reality, the camp is a military base where the rebels of the 'Free Syrian Army are trained and from which they depart daily to fight against Assad.

    24/11/2011 SYRIA
    Arab League pondering sanctions against Damascus
    International pressure on the Assad regime is mounting. France yesterday described the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, as a “legitimate partner”. The idea of humanitarian corridors or a no-fly zone maintained by Arab and Turkish plane is gaining ground.

    11/05/2012 SYRIA
    UN condemns Damascus bombings. Regime and rebels must end violence
    The final toll is 55 dead and more than 400 injured. Even China and Russia condemn the attack and call for respect of the ceasefire proposed by Kofi Annan.

    20/07/2012 SYRIA
    The battle for Damascus continues as rebels take over border posts
    With 302 deaths, yesterday was the worst day since the start of the uprising. Syria's national security chief was among the dead. Rebels seize border posts with Turkey and Iraq. After Russia-China veto at the Security Council, the UK and the US announce new initiatives in favour of the rebels. Moscow complains.



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