Turkey Bans Syrian Passenger Planes From Airspace

Turkey announced that all Syrian aircraft is banned from its airspace, showing an increasingly firm stance against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey’s latest announcement comes just days after the country forced down a Syrian passenger plane, which it asserted contained military arms shipments from Russia, reports Reuters.

The announcement also shows an increase in tensions between the two Middle Eastern nations, who are former allies, but have been showing an increase in hostility towards each other as the conflict in Syria threatens to spill over its borders.

Turkish confrontation with Syria has increased in the past two weeks, mainly because of cross-border shelling. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated on Sunday that Turkish air space is now closed to Syrian planes. This move is most likely a response to the announcement on Saturday by Syria that Turkish planes are banned from flying through Syrian airspace. Davutoglu stated:

“We made a new decision yesterday and informed Syria. We closed our air space to civilian Syrian flights as well as military flights.”

According to the BBC, Turkish officials reported confiscating what they described as munitions bound for Syria’s government on the plane they forced down Wednesday, although Damascus has disputed the allegations.

After they forced the Syrian passenger plane down, Turkey warned its own civilian airlines to avoid breaching Syrian air space. In June, Syria shot down a Turkish warplane, though they stated that the move was an accident. The plane was found to have violated Syrian airspace.

Turkey’s government is also backing the Syrian opposition, calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. While the two countries may not be at war, the rising tensions between the two nations could pose a problem as a potential to cause a war between Turkey and Syria.