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Monday, 15 October 2012

Syria-Turkey Tensions Rise, UN Urge For Peace

The joint special representative of the United Nations and the Arab League (AL) to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi attend a joint press conference in Tehran, Iran.

DAMASCUS-- Tensions between Turkey and Syria hit a new high as Ankara announced Sunday its decision to bar Syrian civilian flights from passing over its airspace.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the decision was made based on Syria's "abusing" of civilian flights by transporting military equipment.
He added that the Syrian government had been notified on Saturday of the decision, which followed a Syrian ban that prohibited Turkish civilian flights to fly over its territories.
The tit-for-tat flight bans came after the Turkish side forcefully grounded a Syrian civilian plane last week, claiming that it carried "non-civilian cargo." Damascus denounced the move as air piracy.
The two Middle East neighbors have seen their relations fathom new lows since a shell fired from inside Syria killed five Turkish civilians early this month and prompted Turkish retaliation.
Davutoglu warned Saturday that his country, whose parliament has adopted a motion authorizing the government to send troops to foreign soil, would retaliate again if its border with Syria was violated.
Also on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi met in Tehran with Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League (AL) joint special envoy on Syria, and the two called for a peaceful settlement of the Syria issue.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Salehi said Iran was fully prepared to help achieve a peaceful closure of the Syria issue, and the Syrian people should enjoy election freedom, a parliament and a constitution based on the will of people.
"Mr. Brahimi and we share the point that, prior to any measure (to be implemented in Syria), violence and killings should be stopped," Salehi said.
For his part, Brahimi said the UN and the AL recognized the sensitivity of the Syria crisis and emphasized an urgent solution to the current situation in the country.
The UN calls for an end to the violence in Syria and asks the opposition groups to respond positively to this initiative, Brahimi said.
Meanwhile, the security situation in Syria continued to worsen, as the country was rocked by a spate of explosions within 12 hours on Sunday.
A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-packed car before dawn in front of a residential building at the upscale district of al-Mazzeh in Damascus. No casualties were reported.
Hours later, an explosive device affixed under a civilian car went off in another part of al-Mazzeh, severely injuring a Syrian journalist. A roadside bomb went off on the southern highway of Damascus, injuring a passing-by lawyer.
The Syrian troops were preparing for a major operation to regain control over the time-honored Umayyad Mosque in the old quarter of the northern city of Aleppo, which has been under the control of armed rebels since last month, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said.
On the same day, the private Dogan news agency reported that three Turkish soldiers were wounded in clashes with smugglers on the border with Syria.
The clashes started Saturday night when smugglers carrying tea and cigarettes fired at Turkish soldiers on duty at a border post, and escaped into Syrian territory after the Turkish side fought back.

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Edited By Cen Fox Post Team

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