Turkey intercepts plane from Russia 'carrying Syria arms'
12 October, 2012
MOSCOW: Tensions on Thursday flared between Turkey and Syria's top ally Russia after Ankara forced a Syrian passenger jet flying from Moscow to land on the grounds it carried Russian-supplied arms for Damascus.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Syrian airplane was carrying "equipment and ammunition" destined for the Syrian Defence Ministry that had apparently been provided by Russia's arms export agency.
Russia demanded an explanation, accusing the Turkish authorities of endangering the lives of passengers, while the Syrian regime furiously demanded that Turkey return the cargo it had seized at Ankara's Esenboga Airport. The incident risks not only inflaming tensions between Turkey and the Syrian government - already at bitter odds - but also hurting ties between Ankara and Moscow which have starkly differing views on the Syria conflict.
Erdogan added that the confiscated material - which he said came from a Russian military supplier - was still being meticulously studied by the Turkish authorities. A source in the Russian arms export industry earlier vehemently denied claims that there had been a military cargo onboard the plane.