Relations between Russia and Turkey have been strained by the forced landing of a Syrian passenger plane which Turkey said it need to inspect for smuggled military equipment.

Moscow has said Ankara endangered the lives of Russian passengers when it commanded the Syrian plane to land, and Damascus said the interception was akin to piracy.

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Moscow has been providing military assistance to forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Turkey and Syria’s border has been heating up, with Syria attacking Turkish border towns and Turkey offering asylum to Syrian nationals associated with the opposition.

Turkey issued military jets to escort the planes after receiving intelligence that “non-civilian cargo” was aborad the Airbus A0320 bound for Damascus.  There were 30 Russian passengers aboard the plane, 17 of whom were denied requests to meet with Russian diplomatic services.

No arms were found aboard the plane.  Some cargo was seized and the plane and passengers continued to their destination.

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