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Syrian Arab A320 forced to land in Ankara

A Syrian Arab Airlines Airbus A320-200, registration YK-AKE performing flight RB-442 from Moscow Vnukovo (Russia) to Aleppo (Syria) with 37 people on board, was enroute at FL330 over the Black Sea entering Turkish Airspace, when the aircraft was intercepted by Turkish fighter aircraft and escorted for a safe landing at Ankara Airport about 45 minutes later.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed the aircraft was diverted to Ankara to search the aircraft for non-civil cargo, that according to information provided by secret services was carried by the aircraft. All flights from Turkish to Syrian Air Space have been prohibited, the ministry argues Syria's Airspace is no longer safe.

Turkish Authorities announced later in the evening that the cargo on board of the aircraft was confiscated, the passengers and crew however were released.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry subsequently announced that parts of the cargo requiring declaration have been confiscated, passengers, crew and aircraft however have been released to continue the flight.

The aircraft left Ankara around 2:30L Oct 11th after about 10 hours on the ground.

Some Turkish media report, without providing details or sources of such information, that no weapons and no ammunition was found, however, a large shipment of communication equipment for military purposes was identified. Other Turkish media report, also without providing details or sources of that information, parts for missiles were found on board of the aircraft.

On Oct 11th 2012 Turkey's Premier Minister said ammunition produced a Russian manufacturer was found on board of the aircraft destined to reach the Ministry of Defense of Syria.

Russia denied the claims of ammunition on board of the aircraft. Syria accused Turkey of hijacking the aircraft.

Flight RB-442 is scheduled to fly from Moscow Vnukovo to Damascus (Syria) via Aleppo.

As result of the Turkish authorities declaring Syrian Airspace unsafe a Turkish Airlines Airbus A340-300 registration TC-JDJ performing flight TK-4158 from Bursa (Turkey) to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), diverted to Adana (Turkey) for a fuel stop to be able to fly around Syrian Airspace. The aircraft continued the journey after about 70 minutes on the ground.

learn more at: avherald.com

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