Tags: syria | turkey | flights | banned

Turkey Retaliates to Syria's Ban on Turkish Flights

Saturday, 13 Oct 2012 11:12 PM

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's foreign minister says the country has barred its air space to Syrian civilian flights.

Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday that Turkey had made the decision because the Syrian regime, which is battling an insurgency, was "abusing" civilian flights by transporting military equipment. He says Syria's government was notified of the decision on Saturday.

Syria announced Saturday that it was closing its air space to Turkish Airline flights. But Davutoglu said Sunday: "the Syrian announcement has no value for us."

Last week, Turkey forced a Syrian passenger plane to land and confiscated what it said was military equipment on board. Russia said the plane was carrying spare radar parts, while Syria accused Turkey of piracy.

Syria's state-run news agency SANA sent the announcement to reporters in a text message late Saturday, but did not elaborate.

The decision came three days after Turkey intercepted the Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus.

Tensions between the neighbors have been rising since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad erupted 19 months ago.

Turkey sides with the rebels, providing political support and a rear base. Turkey has also begun retaliating for stray Syrian shells and mortar rounds hitting Turkish soil.

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Turkey's foreign minister says the country has barred its air space to Syrian civilian flights. Syria decided Saturday to ban Turkish Airlines flights from Syrian airspace.

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