Turkish newspaper reports that US relayed information on Syrian plane to Turkey before it forced it to land in Ankara
Turkey stopped a Syrian plane in Ankara following intelligence it received from the United States, Turkish newspaper Milliyet reported Thursday without naming its sources.
It was also reported that following the incident, the Syrian air force has been ordered to stop any Turkish aircraft flying over Syrian airspace.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has postponed his scheduled visit to Turkey to an unknown date. A diplomatic source told Hurriyet that the visit was canceled due to bureaucratic reasons.
Russia has also denied allegations that the aircraft had been carrying weapons and military equipment. “Neither weapons nor any kind of systems or parts for military equipment were on board or could have been on board,” a source in a Russian arms exporting agency told Interfax.
Syria claims the plane had been carrying legitimate cargo.
“The plane was not carrying any illegal material,” Ghaida Abdulatif, head of Syrian Arab Airlines, told reporters in Damascus. “When the plane was inspected it was clear that there were … civilian packages with electrical equipment which are allowed to be transported and had been officially registered.”
The state news agency SANA also quoted Abdulatif as saying Turkish authorities “assaulted the plane’s crew before it was allowed to take off”, without giving details. Lebanon’s al-Manar Television earlier quoted Syria’s transport minister as describing Turkey’s forcing the passenger plane to land as an act of air piracy. Turkish officials suspected it was carrying military equipment to Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are fighting rebels. Abdulatif said Turkey’s action was “inhumane” and that the airline would lodge a complaint with international aviation authorities over the incident.