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Middle east

Syria bans Turkish civilian flights from its airspace

©

Latest update : 2012-10-18

Syria has banned Turkish passenger planes from its airspace, the foreign ministry said Sunday, prompting Turkey to announce a similar ban on Syrian flights. The row comes days after a Syrian airliner was intercepted and forced to land in Ankara.

Syria has banned Turkish passenger flights from Syrian airspace beginning at midnight (2100 GMT) on Saturday, the foreign ministry has announced.
              
The Turkish government announced a similar ban for Syrian civilian aircraft later on Sunday.
 
Asked if Syrian passenger planes were now banned from crossing its borders, a Turkish foreign ministry official said: "Yes, civilian aircraft. Military aircraft were de facto banned way before."
 
 
Rebels down Syrian jet

Syrian rebels shot down a fighter jet in the northern province of Aleppo on Saturday, a monitoring group and a military defector said.

"The rebels shot down the fighter jet in the west of Aleppo province, where fierce battles are taking place," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. "The jet was bombarding the village of Khan al-Asal."

A defecting military officer in the province confirmed the reports, adding that what he said was a MiG jet was shot down some 10 kilometres (six miles) west of Aleppo, scene of fierce battles since July 20.

Amateur video shot by activists and distributed by the Observatory showed groups of people gathering around a pile of embers, and smoke rising from the scene, as men fired their weapons into the air in celebration.

(AFP)
Both Damascus and Moscow denied claims that the aircraft was carrying cargo destined for the Syrian regime and the plane was allowed to continue its journey on Friday.
 
The tit-for-tat row over airspace frontiers comes amid escalating tensions between the two countries after sporadic cross-border skirmishes in recent weeks.

On Saturday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for reform of the UN Security Council to help resolve the crisis, since Russia and China have repeatedly used their veto powers to block resolutions condemning Syria.

"It's time to change the structure of international institutions, starting with the UN Security Council," Erdogan told reporters, calling for "wider, fairer and more effective representation".

"By failing to implement an effective policy towards events in Syria, the Security Council is rapidly losing its legitimacy in the eyes of the oppressed elsewhere in the world," he argued.
 
Reform of the council should take into account the growing strength of countries including Turkey, Brazil, India and Indonesia, he said. "The West is no longer the only centre of the world."
 
On the same day, Turkey's leaders also met international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
             
After his meeting with Westerwelle, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu repeated Turkey's position that they would not tolerate any further border incidents.
             
"Fresh border violations can take place and we will hit back without hesitation if we believe Turkey's national security is in danger," he told reporters.
 
But FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Ankara Jasper Mortimer believes the Turkish people will not back all-out military action against their neighbour.
 
“The Turks don’t want war, that has been very clear in opinion polls, anti-war demonstrations and even a debate in parliament ten days ago, so it will depend on the level of response,” Mortimer said.
 
“The people will expect the retaliation to be in proportion to the violation by Syria. If the retaliation is out of proportion to what Syria has done, then the government will come under criticism,” he added.
 
(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2012-10-14

  • TURKEY

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