Turkey clears Syria-bound plane after cargo search

Local media reported that the plane took off from Bishkek and landed at Ankara’s Esenboga airport

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Turkey briefly grounded a Syria-bound plane on Saturday for a cargo check, but cleared it for departure after discovering it was only carrying blankets, an official said.

“The plane was grounded, searched and cleared, and is due to resume its journey tomorrow (Sunday) morning,” the official told AFP.

“We have verified that the plane is carrying blankets”.

Local media reported that the plane took off from Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, and landed at Ankara’s Esenboga airport.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the plane was owned by a Pakistani company and it was carrying blankets to the Syrian Red Crescent dispatched by a Chinese company.

Turkey is a vocal critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has openly supported the rebels fighting his regime.

In 2012, Ankara forced a Syrian plane that took off from Russia to land for inspections, and seized some of its cargo saying it contained military supplies for the regime in Damascus.

The same year, Turkish authorities allowed another Syria-bound plane from Armenia to resume its journey after it landed for a search.

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