ATW Editor's Blog

Syrian Air A320 Intercepted Over Turkey


The BBC and other media are reporting that a Syrian Air Airbus A320 has been forced to land at Ankara after it was intercepted by Turkish air force fighter jets.

The A320 was flying from Moscow when it was intercepted on intelligence that it was carrying "non-civilian cargo", the BBC reported.

The A320 had just 35 passengers onboard and they were disembarked before the aircraft was taken under military escort for security checks.

Syrian Air, which operates six A320s and two ATR 72s, has A320neos, A330s and A350s on order, but all orders are suspended as part of sanctions put in place since civil war broke out in the country.

The airline has been at the cutting edge of war's blade in several more ways - Captain Firas Ibrahim Al-Safi, a member of staff, was killed in July during violent clashes in Aleppo. And in September, an A320 flying from Damascus to Latakia collided with a military helicopter. The aircraft landed safely despite having half of its vertical stabilizer broken off; the helicopter crashed killing three people.

Turkey has also announced a ban on all Turkish passenger aircraft from flying over Syrian airspace declaring it "no longer safe".

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