Syrian plane carried ammo for Damascus

2012-10-11 22:27
TRT television says an Airbus A320 coming from Moscow was intercepted by F16 jets as it entered Turkish airspace and escorted to the capital's Esenboga Airport. (Burhan Ozbilici, AP)

TRT television says an Airbus A320 coming from Moscow was intercepted by F16 jets as it entered Turkish airspace and escorted to the capital's Esenboga Airport. (Burhan Ozbilici, AP)

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Ankara - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday the cargo seized on a Syrian plane intercepted on its way from Moscow to Damascus carried military equipment and ammunition for the Syrian regime.

Erdogan said the cargo was "equipment and ammunition shipped to the Syrian Defense Ministry" from a Russian military supplier, in remarks televised by NTV news channel.

Erdogan did not name the Russian supplier, but said it was the Russian counterpart of Turkey's Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation, which is the Turkish army's main provider of military equipment.

He also declined to comment on the source of the intelligence Ankara received on Wednesday, after which two Turkish F-16 fighters forced the Syrian passenger plane to make an emergency landing in Ankara.

The confiscated material is still being studied by relevant departments, according to Erdogan, who noted that a meticulous procedure was applied in the process.

Ankara's grounding of the Syrian plane carrying 35 passengers, 17 of them Russian nationals, for nine hours before finally allowing it to resume its journey has drawn intense criticism from Damascus and its main ally Moscow.

Damascus accused Ankara of hostility and demanded the return of the seized cargo, while Moscow denied it contained arms of any kind.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  russia  |  syria  |  turkey  |  transport  |  aviation
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