Russia wants answers over Turkish grounding of Syrian plane

Moscow asked Ankara for clarification after Turkey intercepted a Damascus-bound plane, a Russian foreign ministry source said Wednesday, adding that there were 17 Russians onboard the flight.

"According to information that still has to be verified, there are 17 Russian citizens, including children, onboard the plane," the source told the Interfax news agency.

"The Russian embassy in Turkey immediately contacted the Turkish foreign ministry to seek explanations and to ask about gaining access to the regular Moscow-Damascus flight," the source added.

Russian diplomats have also been dispatched Ankara airport to defend the interests of the Russian passengers, the source said.

On Wednesday, an A320 jet travelling from Moscow to Damascus was intercepted by two Turkish fighters and escorted to Ankara's Esenboga Airport for security checks on its cargo by Turkish special operation units.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu later said that "objectionable cargo" had been seized from the plane. The confiscated cargo might be missile parts, Turkey's NTV news channel reported.

by Dan De Luce © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Oct 10, 2012