Syria said on Saturday that it will not allow Turkish civilian planes to fly over its territory, while Turkey criticized United Nations for failing to tackle the Syrian conflict, escalating tension between the two neighbors who once were close allies.
According to a report by the official news agency SANA, citing a foreign ministry statement the ban on Turkish planes takes effect Saturday midnight. The move has come days after Turkey intercepted a Syrian plane alleging that it carried Russian made munitions for the Syrian army.
Syria has said that the ban was in retaliation against Turkey’s ban of Syrian planes over its territory.
Turkey has not announced any ban on Syrian flights but has said that it will intercept the Syrian civilian planes if they suspect it to carry military armaments.
Syria had strongly condemned Turkey for grounding the civilian plane and had claimed the allegations were not true and challenged Turkey to make public the seized goods.
Previously a close ally of Syria, Turkey now backs the Syrian opposition fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Turkey’s villages bordering Syria are widely used by the Syrian opposition forces in their violent conflicts with the Syrian military.
The tension between Ankara and Damascus has escalated in recent weeks following a series of cross border attacks in which five Turkish civilians were killed. In retaliation Turkey attacked the Syrian outposts in the bordering villages, injuring several.
Turkey, a NATO ally had demanded the UN to take tough action against Syria and alleged that the UN’s inaction on solving the Syria conflict that has claimed more than 30,000 lives is helping Assad’s military to kill thousands of innocents every day.
"The UN Security Council has not intervened in the human tragedy that has been going on in Syria for 20 months, despite all our efforts," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told a conference in Istanbul, adding: "There's an attitude that encourages, gives the green light to Assad to kill tens or hundreds of people every day," Reuters reported.
A breakthrough in the crisis is far away as the fighting fractions in Syria are yet to make any significant headway in their struggle, while United Nation’s Security Council remains as a mute spectator, as it failed to reign over the warring factions.
The UN Security Council so far has failed to arrive at a consensus regarding an armed intervention to end the Syria crisis as its members including Russia and China support Assad’s government, while the western countries fear any armed intervention without consensus will adversely affect the region’s balance.