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Turkey seizes cargo aboard Syria-bound plane


october 10, 2012 7:52 pm

“—Turkey says it has seized “objectionable cargo” aboard a Syrian passenger plane it intercepted en route from Moscow to Damascus.

The A-320 plane was escorted on Wednesday evening by two Turkish jets to Ankara’s Esenboga Airport, officials and news reports say.

The move marks a new deterioration in relations between Turkey and Syria, already heightened by days of cross-border shelling.

“There is illegal cargo on the plane that should have been reported” in line with civil aviation regulations, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency following security checks on the aircraft’s cargo.

“There are elements on board that can be considered objectionable,” he added, without elaborating.

The confiscated cargo might be missile parts, Turkish NTV news channel reported.

The plane, carrying about 30 passengers, would be allowed to leave soon, Davutoglu said.

Earlier, he said that the plane was forced to land because of information that it may be carrying “non-civilian cargo”.

Al Jazeera’s Gonca Senay, reporting from Ankara, said that over eight hours it was forced to land, the plane remains on the tarmac, in darkness.

“We know that the search is over. Some security units are back in the plane – we know that – but we don’t know what that is for,” said Senay.

“We know that the plane has the permission to take off to where it was headed before,” said our correspondent.

Russia, from where the Syrian plane took off, is one of the closest allies of the Syrian government and has blocked several UN resolutions against Damascus.

“Once a week a Syrian Airlines airplane flies from Moscow bound for Damascus,” Interfax quoted Vnukovo Airport spokeswoman Yelena Krylova as saying. “The plane took off normally, there were no incidents.”…(Aljazeera)

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