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Syrian passenger plane forced to land in Ankara

  • Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian passenger plane suspected of carrying weapons to land in Ankara on Wednesday.

    According to media reports, military communications devices were confiscated, after which the Airbus A320 was given permission to leave.

    The airliner, traveling from Moscow to Damascus, was carrying 35 passengers and two crew members, far less than its total capacity of 180 passengers.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the decision came in a bid to prevent any transfer of weapons to Syria through its airspace.

    Tensions have been mounting since five Turkish civilians were killed by Syrian mortar fire last week.

    It was the first time that Turkish citizens had been killed as a result of fire from Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al Assad's regime began in March 2011.

    Turkey retaliated with artillery strikes as its parliament voted to authorize military operations inside Syria.