US intelligence prompted Turkish interception of #Syrian plane, report says
Turkish jets forced the Syrian plane, en route from Moscow to Damascus, to land at an airport in Ankara on Oct. 10 and officials seized military communication equipment and parts that could be used in missiles before allowing the plane to resume its journey.
While Turkish officials have so far declined to name the source of the intelligence obtained by Turkey on the presence of non-civilian cargo on the plane, the Washington Post quoted US officials as saying that US intelligence agencies were behind the tip that led the Turkish military to intercept and ground the plane.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week the Syrian plane was carrying Russian-made ammunition destined for Syria’s Defense Ministry.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last Friday that the grounded plane was legally carrying Russian radar parts for Syria.
Lavrov insisted the shipment of “electric equipment for radars” was legitimate cargo in compliance with international law, but he added that it was of “dual purpose,” meaning it could have both civilian and military applications.
According to the report, “as Syria’s internal conflict has increasingly spilled across its northern border into Turkey, the US government has stepped up cooperation with its key NATO ally.”
The report quoted US officials as saying that military officials from both countries have recently “met to make contingency plans to impose no-fly zones over Syrian territory or seize Syria’s stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.”