Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday said the country has barred its airspace to Syrian civilian flights. The announcements came on the heels of Syria’s decision on Saturday to ban Turkish Airlines flights from Syrian airspace.
“The Syrian announcement has no value for us,” said Davutoglu, adding that Turkey had made the decision because the Syrian regime, which is battling an insurgency, was “abusing” civilian flights by transporting military equipment.
The minister said Syria’s government was notified of the decision on Saturday.
Last week, Turkey forced a Syrian plane to land and confiscated what it said was military equipment on board. Russia said the plane was carrying spare radar parts, while Syria accused Turkey of piracy.
Tensions between the neighbors have been increasing since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad erupted 19 months ago.
Turkey sides with the rebels, providing political support and a rear base. Turkey has also begun retaliating for stray Syrian shells and mortar rounds hitting Turkish soil.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.