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Turkey orders Syrian passenger plane to land-state TV

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 10 Oct 2012 18:22 GMT
Author: Reuters
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ANKARA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Turkey scrambled fighter planes to force a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to land in Ankara on Wednesday and banned Turkish civilian aircraft from flying in Syrian airspace, state-run TRT television said.

A foreign ministry official confirmed that a civilian plane had been ordered to land in the Turkish capital but gave no further details.

Some Turkish media reports said the plane had been forced to land because it was suspected of carrying weapons to Syria, although there was no confirmation of this from Turkish officials.

Turkey's civil aviation authority banned Turkish civilian aircraft from using Syrian airspace citing insecurity in its southern neighbour, TRT said.

Tensions between Turkey and Syria are running high.

Turkey's armed forces have bolstered their presence along the 900-km (560-mile) border and have been firing back over the past week in response to gunfire and shelling coming across from northern Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been battling rebels who control swathes of territory.

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