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Syrian Air jetliner forced to land in Turkey, cargo confiscated

Turkey believes Syrian Air jet from Moscow carried military equipment aboard.

Syrian air jetliner ankara turkey 10 10 2012Enlarge
A Syrian passenger plane is seen after it was forced to land at Ankara airport on October 10, 2012. A Syrian passenger plane was forced to land in Ankara on Wednesday evening on suspicions that it was carrying weapons, Anatolia news agency reported citing officials. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey allowed a Syrian Air jetliner to leave Ankara today, but not after confiscating cargo believed to be military communications equipment or “missile parts,” Turkish state TV reported.

Earlier, two Turkish F16 fighter jets forced the Airbus A320 with 37 passengers and crew aboard to land in the capital after receiving reports it might be carrying contraband.

The plane was flying though Turkish airspace from Moscow, The Associated Press said.

The incident is the latest between the former allies as the fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues.

“There are elements ... that are not legitimate in civilian flights,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, according to the AP.

“We are determined to stop the flow of weapons to a regime that carries out such ruthless massacres,” he added. “We cannot accept that our air space be used for such aims.”

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The Syrian government did not offer a response, The New York Times reported.

The 550-mile border between Turkey and Syria has become a flashpoint of late, with both sides exchanging weapons fire.

An estimated 100,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Turkish camps, The Times said.

Tensions appear to be rising, also, with gunfire and civilian casualties reported today, according to The Times.

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey is prepared to intensify its military response against Syria.

“Turkey already responded, and will respond even stronger. We are here, and we are standing tall,” Chief of General Staff General Necdet Özel told the Daily News.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/121010/syrian-air-jetliner-forced-land-turkey-cargo-confisca