Syria has alleged the Turkish action against the Damascus-bound passenger jet violated international laws.
Speaking to the media at the country’s Ministry of Transport the head of Syrian Arab Airlines, Ghaida Abdulatif, said that nothing illegal was on board the plane.
She explained: “When the aircraft was inspected there were only civilian parcels containing electronic equipment.” She claimed that everything had been “legally registered as being on the jet and the contents of each package were taken down in the customs declaration.” She concluded by saying that the “Turkish inspectors did not find anything on board the plane.”
The incident has increased already high tensions between Turkey and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad since five Turkish citizens were killed in a mortar attack by Syrian forces last week.
Haitham Kasser, a Syrian Arab Airlines engineer, who was on board the flight from Moscow to Damascus accused the Turkish authorities of making them “wait for one hour before requesting that they bring down all the bags.” When they asked for acknowledgement of receipt, they were told that would “not be possible”. He concluded by accusing the Turkish military of “manhandling them.”
The Foreign Ministry in Ankara responded to accusations that it put the lives of the 37 passengers and crew at risk. They claim that they offered the travellers use of the airport terminal lounge and also assured that medical crews were available.