News / Middle East

Syria Bans Turkish Airline Overflights

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a forum in Istanbul, October 13, 2012.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a forum in Istanbul, October 13, 2012.
VOA News


Syria says it is banning Turkish civilian flights from its airspace.

A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said the ban was to take effect at midnight Saturday and comes in response to a Turkish move to ban Syrian flights.

The Syrian announcement comes three days after Turkey intercepted a Syrian passenger plane traveling from Moscow to Damascus and seized military hardware and munitions it says were destined for the embattled government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  Syria has denied the plane was carrying military cargo.

For its part, Turkey stepped up tank patrols Saturday on its 900-kilometer border with Syria, days after cross-border Syrian artillery fire hit several Turkish villages.  The Ankara government has threatened to retaliate against further threats to its territory.

Meanwhile, International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Istanbul Saturday to discuss the escalating tensions.  Brahimi also addressed the Syrian conflict Friday with Saudi King Abdullah in Jeddah, where the two agreed on the need to stop the bloodshed and to aid the millions of Syrians affected by the country's civil war. 

On the diplomatic front, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly criticized the United Nations Security Council  Saturday for inaction on the Syrian crisis.   Speaking in Istanbul, he said it has become "more and more difficult" each day for the world body to fulfill its duties due to "unjust, unequal and inactive mechanisms."

"If we leave the issue to the vote of one or two members of the permanent five at the United Nations, then the aftermath of Syria would be very hazardous and humanity will write it down in history with unforgettable remarks," Erdogan said.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which pits forces loyal to President Assad against rebels who control large swaths of Syrian territory.  The conflict began last year as a popular uprising against four decades of Assad family rule before spiraling into civil war.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: Soul from: Heart
October 13, 2012 10:43 PM
UN has become the puppet of big powers and great alliances, that twists the outcomes according to their wish. This is the same world body that assisted and applauded the Sri Lankan govt. that committed serious crimes amounting to Genocide and made some 146 000 civilians disappear in few weeks in 2009. It's the same body that preaches peace and reconciliations with that criminal regime. 30 000 Syrians may be a few according to the pundits of world, for if the issue drags on for a while, there may be some more deaths on both sides and at the end of the day there will be a few hundred thousand mouths to feed.

by: Anonymous
October 13, 2012 8:45 PM
Russia and China are in the same boat with Assad, they want to sell high tech to kill more innocent people of Syria. This is how these two countries want to experiment the new weapons, There is no chance for Russia and China to win the war with Assad, too many innocent Syrian people die with Assad regime. UN must add more permanent members to the council

by: Bryan from: California
October 13, 2012 8:26 PM
this man who leads Turkey is absolutely right .. look at the list of
votes in the General Assembly against the UN resolution against the dictator in Damascus ..

See how many of the worst dictatorships you can name ..

Answer: 12 votes supporting Assad are Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Myanmar, Nicaragua, North Korea, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

by: Carlos.. from: San Jose
October 13, 2012 8:20 PM
His words are lost on President Obama .. the great orator and entertainer in the White House mouths soaring rhetoric but his failure of act betrays cowardice .. it is disgraceful and despicable .. rch 28, 2011, "when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians."

“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” (Except in an election year?)

“Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different,” (Except in an election year)

“And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

I have been to Aleppo and never met a kinder people ..

by: Maithe GASPARI from: Paris, France
October 13, 2012 5:12 PM
Erdogan should calm down. He would like to be the center of the world and keep imagining stories, giving 'lessons' to democracies. He tries to use NATO and so on. Enough is enough. UN are not the trouble: he is the trouble!! A big one.
And please VOA don't put Turkey in 'Europe' . Turkey is not an European country (thank God!!!)
In Response

by: uzun from: Sc
October 14, 2012 4:54 PM
Dear Maithe,
This is not the issue between France &Turkey or west & Turkey... Please make an emphaty for the people who are suffering ..!!
If you believe human rights...
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
And Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

by: Papandreou from: Greece
October 13, 2012 12:48 PM
LOL... unjust, unequal and inactive mechanisms...." Hey Turk get out of Cyprus!!! Get out of Constantinople !!! you malevolent idiot

by: Anonymous
October 13, 2012 11:53 AM
The gall of Erdogan... Turkey blames the UN for problems that it helped cause. Turkey itself should be sanctioned by the UN for inflaming an insurrection and causing the situation in Syria.

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