Syria accused Turkey of lying over its claim that a Syria-bound plane en route from Moscow, which Turkey intercepted, carried Russian ammunition.
“The Turkish prime minister continues to lie to justify his government’s hostile attitude towards Syria,” the Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement, challenging Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to show publicly the "ammunition" that had been seized, Syria's Sana news agency said.
“The plane did not carry ammunition or military equipment and Erdogan’s comments lack credibility and he must show the equipment and ammunition at least to his people,” the ministry said.
Erdogan had earlier said that the passenger plane was forced to land in Ankara due to suspicions that Russia was breaching an arms embargo on Syria.
Moscow has also accused Turkey of jeopardizing the lives of Russian passengers by using the military to intercept the plane.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the nation was determined to stop any transfer of weapons to Syria through its airspace, the report said.
Russia's state arms export agency Rosoboronexport said it had no information about the cargo and denied it had any connection with the flight or anything on board, BBC reported.
Tensions between Syria and Turkey had already been running high due to cross-border shelling between the two neighbors, when the Syrian jet was forced to land in Turkey and was searched Wednesday, which Damascus condemned as “piracy” that stood in violation of the international law. The aircraft was allowed to leave Ankara early Thursday.
Shelling from within Syria killed five Turkish civilians last week, while Turkey responded by firing into Syria for the first time since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad which began last year, BBC reported.
French President Francois Hollande on Thursday warned of the risks posed by the rising tensions between the two neighbors, amid fears that the Syrian civil war could turn into a regional conflict.
"It's a risk, and Turkey has been especially restrained," Hollande told French television and radio, AFP reported. "I welcome the attitude of its leaders because there have been aggressions and provocations."
On the ground, a powerful blast rocked the military justice building in Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The fighting between Syrian rebels and the military continued Friday with least 87 Syrian soldiers reported killed over Thursday, the highest military death toll in a day since the beginning of the conflict.
UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held talks with officials in Saudi Arabia, which called for Assad to quit and supports the rebels.
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