Oct 11, 2012
ISTANBUL – Moscow accused Ankara of endangering Russian lives on Thursday after Turkey forced a Syrian passenger plane to land and seized what it suspected was military equipment being ferried from Russia to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Damascus said the interception of the Syrian Air plane was an act of piracy, further heightening tensions between the neighbors after Turkey’s chief of staff warned his troops would respond with greater force if shells from Syria continued to hit Turkish territory.
Military jets escorted the Damascus-bound Airbus A-320, which was carrying around 30 passengers from Moscow, into Ankara airport late on Wednesday after Turkey received intelligence that it was carrying “non-civilian cargo”.
Russia, which has stood behind Assad’s government during an 18-month-old uprising that has killed some 30,000 people, angrily demanded an explanation.