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Syria plane intercepted by Turkey did not carry illegal cargo

October 12, 2012, 13:43 UTC+3

The Syrian plane that was forced to land by the Turkish authorities was not carrying prohibited cargoes

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BEIRUT, October 12 (Itar-Tass) — The Syrian plane that was forced to land by the Turkish authorities was not carrying prohibited cargoes, the Syrian Foreign Ministry stated.

“The cargo contents are specified in the documents, the plane was not carrying any weapons or anything else illegal. This corresponds to the Syrian Air airline's reputation that is internationally recognised,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry’s said in statement quoted by the SANA news agency on Thursday. “The Syrian government calls upon the Turkish authorities to return the rest of the plane's contents intact.”

According to the document, “There might be articles in the international laws and agreements that allow a state to search planes passing through its airspace, but the problem is the Turkish government's flagrant violation of these laws and agreements through forcing the plane to land despite the fact that the pilot did not refuse to modify the flight course which exposed the safety of the plane and the passengers to threats because of the sudden appearance of the Turkish warplanes without warning, not to mention the inhuman locking the civilian passengers for many hours and assaulting the crew.”

Turkey’s actions the Syrian Foreign Ministry emphasised “endangered the airliner and its passengers.”

The Syrian Foreign Ministry stated that “the hostile Turkish behaviour is additional evidence on the aggressive policy adopted by Erdogan’s government taking into account the training, harbouring of gunmen and facilitating their infiltration through its borders and bombing the Syrian territories.” The Ministry concluded that “despite the condemned hostile behaviour of the Turkish government, this will not affect our commitment to the friendship relations between the Syrian and Turkish peoples which are greater and much more important than any government.”

The Airbus A-320 airliner of Syrian Air at 15:26 MSK Wednesday took off from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. After it entered the Turkish airspace the F-16 fighters of the Turkish Air Force intercepted the airliner and forced it to land at the Turkish capital’s airport. The Airbus had 37 people, including crewmembers and 17 Russians with children, on board. After a nine-hour detention the plane continued its flight to Damascus. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in connection with the incident that “Turkey’s actions have put at risk the lives of Russians that were on board the plane” of Syrian Airlines, and Moscow demanded explanations. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that “the Turkish authorities without explaining the reason and in violation of the bilateral Consular Convention did not allow the diplomats to meet with the Russian citizens.”

According to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, there was a cargo of military equipment and ammunition on board the Syrian aircraft.

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