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Syria plane carried Russian anti-missile radar parts: report

Syria plane carried Russian anti-missile radar parts: report

Moscow: The Syrian plane intercepted by Turkey on a flight from Moscow was carrying Russian radar parts for Syrian missile defence systems but not weapons, a Russian newspaper report said today.

The plane was loaded with 12 boxes containing parts for radars used in the Syrian army's missile defence systems, Kommersant quoted sources in the arms export industry as saying, denying accusations by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the cargo included ammunition.

The sources told the paper that the cargo needed no special documentation as it posed no risk to the crew of the plane or the aircraft itself.

"This is not a weapon. If a person takes a radio receiver that has been switched off onto the plane then does this pose a threat for the airliner or the passengers?" asked the source.

"No international laws were violated."

The spokesman of Russia's weapons export agency Rosoboronexport Vyacheslav Davidenko denied "there was any cargo belonging to us" on the plane, as Erdogan had implied.

The SyrianAir plane flying from Moscow to Damascus was forced to land at Ankara's Esenboga airport by the Turkish air force. The plane was later allowed to continue to Damascus but Turkey has held on to the suspect cargo.

Erdogan said the plane was carrying "equipment and ammunition" destined for the Syrian defence ministry that had apparently been provided by Rosoboronexport.

Kommersant also quoted sources as saying that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) could open an inquiry over how the information that the plane was carrying a sensitive cargo leaked out to the Turkish authorities.

"The Turkish authorities sent out two F-16 fighters to escort the jet so they most likely knew about the cargo that was being carried. They would not have done this if they had not been sure."

Kommersant said the intelligence could have been supplied by the US secret services and it could not be ruled out that the original leak was the fault of the Syrian side.


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