UK & World News
Turkey Bans Syria Flights Over Its Territory
Turkey has barred Syrian civilian flights from its airspace, as tensions between Ankara and Damascus increase.
Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey made the decision because the Syrian regime was "abusing" civilian flights by transporting military equipment.
He said Syria's government was notified of the decision on Saturday.
Syria announced on Saturday that it was closing its air space to Turkish flights. But Mr Davutoglu said: "The Syrian announcement has no value for us."
Syria said its decision was in retaliation for Turkey's decision to stop Syrian civil aviation flights over its territory, said state news agency Sana, citing the foreign ministry.
On Wednesday, Turkish jets forced a Syrian civilian flight from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara on suspicion of carrying weapons.
Both Damascus and Moscow denied the claim, and the plane was allowed to continue its journey on Friday.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the aircraft had been carrying radar equipment which could have either civilian or military uses, and insisted that Moscow had violated no laws.
Turkey and Syria have engaged in sporadic cross-border shelling in recent days.
Inside Syria, rebels and activists said a Syrian regime warplane was shot down near Aleppo, while part of the embattled northern city's historic Ummayad mosque was set ablaze.
Near Damascus a car bomb blast killed eight people, including a child and two women, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.