Sunday 24 September 2017

Syria and Turkey ban air travel

Turkish soldiers monitor the border area between Turkey and Syria at a Turkish military base near the village of Hacipasa in Hatay province
Turkish soldiers monitor the border area between Turkey and Syria at a Turkish military base near the village of Hacipasa in Hatay province

Ruth Sherlock Beirut

THE diplomatic crisis between Syria and Turkey continued to escalate as the two countries banned each other from using their airspace, even for civilian flights.

The tit-for-tat move comes after Turkey last week forced down a passenger plane and confiscated a cargo of Russian radar equipment intended for President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Syria responded yesterday by announcing the closure of its own airspace, in "accordance with the principle of reciprocity", the SANA state-run news agency said.

Human Rights Watch accused the Syrian air force of increasing its use of cluster bombs in the past week.

The weapon, which has been banned by most nations, was allegedly thrown from planes and helicopters in an attempt to regain control of the strategically crucial town of Maarat al-Numan, which fell to the rebels last week.

Cluster munitions are designed to kill and maim as many people as possible. The bomblets remain live if they do not detonate on first impact, and can kill and maim years after they are deployed.

Footage from towns near Damascus, showed evidence that cluster bombs had been used. (© The Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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