Russia was not informed about the cargo seized by Turkey from Syrian plane – official

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Russia was not informed about the cargo seized by Turkey from Syrian plane – official
Published 12-10-2012, 10:10
A Russian foreign official has told the Voice of Russia Ankara still hasn’t provided Moscow with any details on the nature of cargo seized from a Moscow-Damascus passenger jet which was forced to land in Turkey.
According to the source, Turkey hasn’t elaborated yet on the reasons and specifics of this seizure. "We hope this information will be provided to us in the near future,” he said.

The passenger plane of the Syrian Airlines was grounded at the Ankara Airport on Wednesday evening.

Turkey claimed the impounded jetliner carried Russian military cargo.

Aboard the plane were 35 passengers, including 17 Russian nationals, whose lives were placed in jeopardy, Russia alleged. 

The United States has thrown its support behind Turkey’s decision to intercept a Syrian plane en route from Moscow to Damascus on Wednesday.

This came in a statement by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Friday.

"We strongly support the government of Turkey's decision to inspect the plane,” Ms Nuland said. "Any transfer of any military equipment to the Syrian regime at this time is very concerning. And we look forward to hearing more from the Turkish side when they get to the bottom of what they found,” she added.

The spokeswoman refused to comment rumours alleging it was Washington that had tipped off Ankara on the nature of cargo transported by the grounded passenger plane.

Syrian authorities have accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of falsehood, as they vehemently refute his statement that the Syrian-bound plane from Russia was carrying a cargo of munitions. This information was reported by the BBC.

"These accusations are false and groundless," says the Syrian Foreign Ministry statement.

Earlier, the Turkish authorities indicated that the "Syrian Airlines” passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus was carrying a cargo of military hardware. The plane was forced to land at the airport in Ankara on Wednesday night. The cargo was confiscated, after which the aircraft was allowed to resume its flight.

On board were 35 passengers, including 17 Russians. Moscow has expressed its concerns over endangering the lives of Russians, and demanded an explanation from the Turkish side in connection with the incident.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday a Syrian passenger plane forced to land in Ankara was carrying Russian-made munitions destined for Syria's defence ministry.

Turkish authorities ordered the Syrian Air passenger plane, which was travelling from Moscow to Damascus, to land late on Wednesday after receiving an intelligence tip-off and seized some of its cargo.

The munitions allegedly found in the intercepted plane’s cargo were manufactured in Russia, Erdogan said while speaking at a press conference with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

A Syria Air passenger jet was intercepted in the Turkish airspace and diverted to the international airport in Ankara for inspection. Turkish officials claimed the plane was carrying "non-civilian” cargo.

Russia’s Ambassador to Ankara visited Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Thursday over the plane interception incident.

On Wednesday, Turkey arrested a Syria-bound passenger plane from Moscow saying it was carrying illegal cargo.

The plane had 17 Russians on board and Moscow expressed its concerns over endangering passengers and sought explanation over the incident.

Turkey hasn’t informed Russian diplomats that there were Russians among the passengers. Istanbul also claims that its police confiscated military equipment cargo from the plane.

Officials in Russia and Syria strongly denied the allegations.

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