Russia brings back nearly 9 000 tourists from Turkey

2015-12-07 19:25
Russian ground personnel load a Su-30 jet with weapons at Hemeimeem airbase, Syria. (Vladimir Kondrashov, AP)

Russian ground personnel load a Su-30 jet with weapons at Hemeimeem airbase, Syria. (Vladimir Kondrashov, AP)

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Moscow - Russia said on Monday that it has completed a programme to bring back nearly 9 000 tourists who were in Turkey on package holidays, following tensions since Ankara shot down a Russian jet.

Of the 9 000 tourists who had gone to Turkey on holidays purchased at tour agencies, only about 10 were left by Monday and they were set to return home by the end of the month, the Federal Tourism Agency's Svetlana Sergeyeva told state news agency TASS.

Relations between the countries sharply deteriorated last month when Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane that was operating in neighbouring Syria, where Russia has been conducting a bombing campaign against rebel groups.

Turkey says the plane violated Turkish airspace and was warned before being shot down. Russia says the plane remained in Syrian airspace.

One of the plane's two aviators was killed after ejecting, apparently by gunfire from the ground, and a Russian marine sent on a rescue mission to recover the other aviator was also killed.

Russia responded with a slew of sanctions against Turkey, including import bans and travel restrictions.

The incident followed at least two alleged violations of Turkish airspace by Russian warplanes in October, because of which Ankara summoned the Russian ambassador.

Turkey, a Nato member state, is among the staunchest supporters of the Syrian opposition, whereas Russia backs the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad.

The Syrian civil war erupted in 2011 during a government crackdown on protests against the regime. About a quarter of a million people have been killed in the conflict, according to estimates by the United Nations.

Read more on:    turkey  |  russia  |  syria

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