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  • » 10/11/2012, 00.00


    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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