Syria denied on Monday a Human Rights Watch report that accused Syrian forces of using cluster bombs, which detonate and disperse smaller explosives, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The Syrian army said it doesn’t have any cluster bombs in its arsenal, SANA said, citing a statement issued by the army.
Meanwhile, the United States called on all Syria’s neighbors to keep a careful watch over their airspace, after Turkey said it had intercepted a Syrian plane from Russia (photo) claiming it was carrying military equipment.
“Certainly we support the decision that Turkey has made in light of the apparent violation of their airspace by this aircraft,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, according to AFP.
“We are encouraging all of Syria’s neighbors to be vigilant with regard to how their airspace is used, particularly now that we have this concrete example.”
The Syrian Air plane traveling en route from Moscow to Damascus was forced by Turkish jets to land in Ankara last Wednesday, reportedly upon intelligence that the civilian plane carried military cargo.
After grounding the plane for 9 hours, Ankara announced it seized “objectionable” cargo aboard the plane, triggering a furious reaction from Damascus and its main ally, Moscow.
Nuland stressed however that Turkey was “open to granting humanitarian exceptions.”
Ankara recently “granted approval for an Armenian flight... to overfly Turkey on the condition that it would land and be inspected. It was confirmed to be humanitarian supplies, and they were allowed to go on to Syria,” Nuland said.
“So the Turks, from our perspective, are taking a measured and appropriate posture with regard to these things.”
Source: SANA; AFP