NEWS
14/10/2012 10:47 BST

Turkey And Syria Tensions Mount As Neighbours Ban Flights In Each Other's Airspace

Turkey has banned Syrian planes from flying in Turkish airspace, less than 24 hours after Damascus banned Turkish planes from entering Syrian skies, ratcheting up the tensions between the neighbours.

The ban comes days after Turkey intercepted a Syrian-bound plane, claiming it carried Russian-made weapons intended for the Syrian army, supporting President Bashar al-Assad. Syria and Russia deny any such intentions.

Turkey's government and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for Assad's resignation and allowed Syrian rebels to operate on the Turkish border.

Turkey will retaliate "without hesitation" if Syrian shells continue to land over its border, Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Zaman. He said: "When it comes to security, Turkey's border is equal to the Norwegian border as far as Nato is concerned. The security of these borders is the security of Nato. So we believe that this solidarity will continue."

Davutoglu said Turkey made the decision to ban Syrian flights because the Syrian regime was "abusing" civilian flights by transporting military equipment.

Turkey has repeatedly returned fire across the Syrian border after shells landed close to Turkish villages in Hatay province.