Turkish civilian planes are no longer allowed to fly over Syria,
Damascus announced late Saturday, as tensions
between the two neighboring countries grow.
The ban took effect at midnight (9 pm GMT) on Saturday.
A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement carried by the Damascus' official news agency SANA said the move was in retaliation for a similar Turkish ban on Syrian flights.
Ankara has not announced any such official ban, but said it will ground Syrian civilian planes again if it suspects they are carrying military equipment for Syrian President Bashar Assad's
Syrian-bound plane forced to land in Turkey (Photo: AP)
The announcement followed last week's incident
where Turkey intercepted a Syrian-bound plane, claiming it carried Russian-made munitions for the Syrian army.
Syria denounced the claim as a lie, challenging Ankara to put the seized goods on public view.
Tensions have been recently rising between the two countries after a series of cross-border incidents.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has accused Assad's government of dropping cluster bombs – which are banned by more than 100 countries – into populated areas
The group said there were a number of credible reports that the number of cluster bomb strikes had increased dramatically in recent days.
Syria refuses to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use of such weapons.
In a separate development, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
criticized what he called the United Nations' failure to act in Syria, saying it essentially "gave Assad the green light to kill tens or hundreds of people every day."
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report
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