Tension rises as Turkey intercepts Syrian plane
Overtaking of aircraft has only added to growing unease, unrest between Syria and Turkey.
By JERUD BUHAGIAR, Guest Writer
Tensions between Turkey and Syria rose Thursday as the Turkish government forced down a Syrian aircraft passing over Turkey citing violations in international rules concerning the transportation of munitions aboard civilian aircraft.
The Syrian aircraft was caught by Turkish F-16 fighter jets on Wednesday and forced to land at an airfield near Ankara. However, the Turkish government failed to address what was specifically found aboard the plane.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that whatever was aboard the plane had come from a Russian agency that exports munitions and were bound to a similar “receiving firm in Syria”. “You can guess and understand what kind of things these are. And now these kinds of materials have been confiscated.”
The overtaking of the aircraft has only added to growing unease and unrest between Syria and Turkey. Insurgents, believed to be supplied with weapons and shelter from Turkey, are working towards breaking the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Syrian mortar shells have landed on the Turkish side of the border prompting the Turkish artillery to fire at least seven times within the past week. Most of the mortar has fallen without effect, except one that hit a house in the Turkish border town of Akcakale killing five civilians.
Turkey immediately stopped all national air carriers from taking flight over Syria until further notice. Turkey’s relationship has been negatively affected with Russia over this incident as well. Russia blocked several U.N. Security Council resolutions that would have placed an embargo on arms shipments to Syria.