Turkey Releases Syrian Plane after Detention
Ankara has allowed a Syrian passenger plane to leave, hours after forcing it to land, saying it had suspected the plane might be carrying “non-civilian cargo.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish F16 fighter jets intercepted the Airbus A-320 airliner as it passed through Turkish airspace while flying from Moscow to Damascus with 35 passengers and two crew-members on board.
Turkish fighter jets forced the plane to land at the Esenboga airport in Ankara for security checks.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey seized “objectionable cargo” from the plane. Anatolia news agency quoted officials as saying they suspected the aircraft was carrying arms.
“There is illegal cargo on the plane that should have been reported” in line with civil aviation regulations, Davutoglu was quoted as saying by Anatolia.
“There are elements on board that can be considered objectionable,” he said, adding that Turkey would hold on to the cargo for further investigation but declining to elaborate on the contents.
MOSCOW SAYS PLANE DID NOT CONTAIN ARMS
Meanwhile, the Interfax news agency reported on Thursday, citing an arms exporting source, that the passenger plane did not contain any arms or military equipment on board.
“Neither weapons nor any systems or assembly parts for military equipment were or could have been on board the passenger plane,” the unidentified high-ranking source from one of Russia’s arms exporting agencies told Interfax.
“If there were a need to deliver military equipment or armaments to Syria, it would be done in a routine way rather than illegally, let alone by using a passenger plane,” the source was quoted as saying.
- NATO mortar ‘gift’ from Turkey to Syrian rebels – Turkish newspaper (alethonews.wordpress.com)
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