Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Turkish Jets Force Down Syrian Passenger Plane - TV

 Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian passenger jet to land at the airport in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday, Turkey's NTV television reported.

Turkish F-16s forced down the Airbus A320, which was flying from Moscow to Damascus, over suspicions it has prohibited cargo on board.

The plane, which took off from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, landed in Ankara at 5:15 p.m. local time, CNN-Turk reported.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed that a Syrian plane with 30 passengers on board was diverted to Ankara and forced to land by Turkish fighter jets on Wednesday.

“There is information that the plane had cargo on board that does not meet the requirements of civil aviation,” Davutoglu told TGRT television in Athens, where he is on a visit.

“Measures are currently being undertaken as provided under current legislation and international law,” he said.

Tensions between the two countries boiled over late last Wednesday when a mortar round apparently fired from Syria killed five civilians in the Turkish border town of Akcakale.

Turkey responded with artillery strikes against targets in violence-wracked Syria and the Turkish parliament authorized the government to order more strikes as necessary.

Although Damascus apologized for the incident, Turkish and Syrian artillery exchanged fire a number of times over the ensuing six days.

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