Turkey Searches Cargo of Syria-bound Armenian Plane

This is the second time in a month that Ankara forces an aircraft to land fearing the country's airspace is being used to arm the Syrian army.

Turkey ordered an Armenian aircraft flying to Syria to land and searched its cargo on Thursday, local media reported, the second such move by Ankara in a month designed to prevent its airspace from being used to supply the Syrian military.

The cargo plane was being searched in the eastern Turkish city of Erzurum in a previously agreed step, as in mid-October when another plane was allowed to continue its journey after confirmation it was carrying humanitarian aid as stated.

Broadcaster NTV said the plane ordered to land on Thursday was also reportedly carrying humanitarian aid and the search was continuing. The reports could not immediately be confirmed.

Turkey has become increasingly assertive in challenging Syrian President Bashar Assad amid growing tensions along the border. It banned Syrian aircraft from its airspace in October after saying it found Russian munitions believed to be destined for Syria's armed forces on board a Syrian plane.

On October 15, Turkey ordered a plane flying from Armenia to the Syrian city of Aleppo to land and inspected its cargo.

Two days earlier, a Syrian airliner travelling from Moscow en route to Damascus was intercepted and forced to land for inspection.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan later said that the plane was carrying equipment and ammunition supply destined for the Syrian army.

However Russia said there were no weapons on the plane and that it was carrying a cargo of radar parts, in accordance with international law.