Syria bans Turkish civilian flights from airspace
Syria has banned Turkish Airlines civilian flights from its air space, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The decision comes three days after Turkey intercepted a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus and seized what it said was military equipment on board.
Tensions between the neighbours have been rising since the uprising against Syrian president Bashar Assad erupted 19 months ago. Turkey sides with the rebels, providing political support and a rear base. Turkey has also begun retaliating for Syrian shells and mortar rounds hitting Turkish soil.
Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, criticised the UN Security Council for its failure to agree on decisive steps to end Syria’s civil war. He told an international conference in Istanbul that the world was witnessing a humanitarian tragedy in Syria.
“If we wait for one or two of the permanent members, then the future of Syria will be in danger,” Erdogan said, according to an official interpreter, in reference to Russia and China, two of the five permanent Security Council members who vetoed resolutions that sought to put pressure on Damascus to end the conflict and agree to a political transition.
Erdogan called for a reform of the Security Council, which he called an “unequal, unfair system” that does not represent the will of most countries.
He spoke as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met Arab and European leaders amid growing tensions between Turkey and Syria. Davutoglu held talks with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and UN envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.
He told reporters after the meetings that Turkey was prepared to use force again if attacked, just as it did last week when a shell fired across the border from Syria killed five Turkish villagers.
“If a similar incident occurs again from the Syrian side, we will again take counter action,” he said, while stressing that the border between Syria and Turkey is also the frontier of Nato.