Turkey closes airspace to Syrian civilian flights: minister

Turkey has banned Syrian civilian flights from its airspace, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday, after Damascus announced it had imposed a similar restriction on Turkish flights.

"Yesterday (Saturday) we closed our airspace to Syrian civilian flights as we have previously done for Syrian military flights," Davutoglu told journalists.

"As we have established that civilian flights were being misused by the Syrian defence ministry to transport military material, we sent a note yesterday to the Syrian side," he said.

Ankara's move came after the Syrian state news agency SANA reported on Saturday that a flight ban has been imposed on Turkish flights.

Ankara has taken an increasingly strident line towards its neighbour since a shell fired from the Syrian side of the border killed five Turkish civilians on October 3.

The tit-for-tat flight bans came after Turkey this week intercepted a Syrian Air passenger plane en route from Moscow on suspicion it was carrying military equipment for the regime.

by Michael Thurston © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Oct 14, 2012