Syrian airplane detained by Turkey didn't carry arms, Russia sources say
A source in Russian's arms exporting agency says weapons 'could have been on board'; Parts of the cargo were seized in Turkey before the passenger jet continued its trip.
No Russian weapons were on board a Syrian airplane that was detained by Turkey en route from Moscow to Damascus because of suspicions it was carrying military equipment, a source in a Russian arms exporting agency told Interfax on Thursday.
"Neither weapons nor any kind of systems or parts for military equipment were on board or could have been on board," the news agency quoted the source as saying on condition of anonymity.
Parts of the cargo were seized in Turkey before the passenger jet continued its trip, but no details were given of its contents.
Speaking following the plane's grounding on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Ankara was "determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians. It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our airspace."
"Today we received information that this plane was carrying cargo of a nature that could not possibly be in compliance with the rules of civil aviation," he said on Turkish television.
Tensions between Turkey and Syria, once close allies, have become increasingly strained during the rebellion in Syria against President Bashar Assad.
Davutoglu said Turkey was within its rights to investigate planes suspected to be carrying military materials and that the plane would be allowed to continue if it was found to be clean. He declined to comment on what the banned materials might be.
He said Turkey would continue to investigate Syrian civilian aircraft using its airspace.