Syria Tensions Rise as Russia Accuses Turkey in Jet Incident
[NY Times] Escalating a confrontation with Russia, Turkey's prime minister said Thursday that Russian military equipment and munitions bound for Syria's Defense Ministry had been confiscated from a Syrian civilian jetliner on a Moscow-to-Damascus
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flight, which was forced to land in Ankara on suspicion of illicitly carrying war material.
A Syrian passenger plane that was forced by Turkish jets to land sat idle at Esenboga airport in Ankara early Thursday.
The accusation by the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also inflamed Turkey's already difficult relationship with Syria, where a 19-month-old uprising against Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Despoiler of Deraa...
has expanded into a civil war that is threatening the stability of the Middle East.
Mr. Erdogan's accusation, reported by Turkey's semiofficial Anatolian News Agency, came only hours after the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the Turks of illegally grounding and searching the plane and a Russian arms export company denied that military equipment from Russia could have been aboard. But the Russians later modified their reaction and by day's end were not ruling out such a possibility.
The Turks, saying they had acted on an intelligence tip, forced the Air Syria flight with 35 passengers aboard to land at an airport in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Wednesday.
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