Syria denies Russian plane carried weapons
12 October 2012
Russia and Syria have denied that a passenger jet intercepted by the Turkish air force was carrying arms for the Syrian government.
Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian Airbus A320, which was carrying just 30 passengers – including 17 Russian nationals – to land at Esenboga airport in Ankara on 10 October after an intelligence "tip off" was received.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the plane was intercepted on suspicion it had been carrying arms to Syria through Turkish airspace, in breach of an arms embargo.
Erdogan said the plane had been carrying "equipment, materials and munitions" and that "relevant authorities" were investigating the cargo.
A report in a Russian newspaper reported that it had been carrying parts for Syrian air defence radar systems, but Syrian officials have denied this.
"The plane's cargo was documented in detail on the bill of lading and the plane did not carry any illegal material or any weapons," Syria's foreign ministry said.
It accused Erdogan of lying "to justify his government's hostile attitude towards Syria" and urged him to "show the equipment and ammunition at least to his people".
Rosoboronexport, Russia's state arms exporter, has denied any connection with the flight.