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Syria and Turkey impose airspace ban on each other

February 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm

The Turkish government has banned all Syrian aircraft from its airspace in response to its own aircraft being banned from Syrian airspace. A foreign ministry official said that the new ban was extending the previous ban on military aircraft to civilian flights as well.

Syria claims that its ban on Turkish aircraft was imposed after Turkey’s move, not before. A spokesman in Damascus said that the government is sorry to see Turkey “escalate” the situation by its decision, which “targets the interests of the Syrian people”.

The reciprocal moves come at a time when Syrian-Turkish relations are at an all-time low after the Turkish authorities forced a Syrian aircraft en route from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara. Intelligence reports suggested that the cargo did not comply with civil aviation regulations. Security forces at Ankara Airport carried out a “thorough search” of the aircraft and seized what was believed to be missile parts, before allowing the jet to continue to Damascus. Turkey has said that if will force Syrian aircraft to land if they are suspected of carrying military aid to the Syrian regime.