Turkey Forces Syrian Jet to Land

Passengers detained briefly over suspected military cargo
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2012 7:03 PM CDT
People gather atop the aircraft steps on a Syrian passenger plane that was forced by Turkish jets to land at Esenboga airport in Ankara, Turkey.   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

(Newser) – Relations between Syria and Turkey got even more volatile today when Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian passenger plane to land in Ankara, reports the BBC. Turkish officials detained the plane and passengers briefly and confiscated suspected military cargo. They wouldn't specify what came off the plane, which was flying in from Moscow. "We are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians," said Turkey's foreign minister. "It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our airspace."

The move comes a week after Turkey shelled Syrian positions, in retaliation for Syrian mortars killing Turkish civilians in a border town. Today, a Turkish general warned that the army's response would be "even stronger" if the Syrian shelling continues near the border, reports the New York Times. A stream of Syrian civilians—"many of them women with screaming children clinging to their necks"—is crossing a narrow river into Turkey as the fighting between the army and rebels intensifies, reports Reuters. (Read more Syria stories.)

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