Turkey Continues Grounding Syria Bound Flights
TEHRAN – Turkey grounded a Syria bound Armenian passenger flight to inspect its cargo after a similar move last Wednesday angered Damascus officials who retaliated against the forced landing of the Moscow-Syria flight in Ankara by closing their airspace to all Turkish airliners.
Turkish authorities are searching the Armenian aircraft traveling from Armenia to Syria after it landed in the Eastern city of Erzurum.
Ankara had reportedly demanded, in advance, the on-the-ground cargo inspection in Erzurum as a condition of flying through Turkish airspace.
“There was nothing extraordinary about it. Turkish security forces are currently searching the cargo,” Air Armenia head Arsen Avetisyan told Interfax news agency.
The cargo plane is carrying humanitarian aid to Aleppo.
This incident comes days after the Turkish military forced a Syrian plane traveling from Moscow to Damascus to land in Turkey. Ankara claimed that the civilian aircraft was transporting weapons to Syria. Authorities seized equipment they found in the plane’s luggage before allowing it to resume its flight.
The equipment was spare parts for radar, not weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The components were legally purchased in Russia, and were being delivered to the buyer in Syria.
Turkey and Syria denied each other the use of their respective airspaces after the incident.
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