Turkey closed its airspace in the face of Russian military planes following the recent tension in Syria’s Greater Idlib, Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported on February 21.
According to the newspaper, four planes, including a Tu-154 and two Su-24M of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS), were banned from entering Turkey’s airspace.
The four Russian planes were forced to travel through Iran, then Iraq. The unusual trip, which took place on February 20, was noticed by aviation observers.
Replenishment of the fleet of military aircraft at the air base in Syria. Tu-154 #Russian Defense Ministry RA85042 board as escort aircraft (leader) for the Su-24M Volga route 🇷🇺 —-> 🇸🇾 Latakia (#Syria) #RA85042 #RuAF
RS A group of aircraft entered SAR through airspace of Iran pic.twitter.com/NQDgpxk7XN
— Sukhoi Su-57 Felon 🇷🇺🇮🇳 (@I30mki) February 20, 2020
In the first years of its operations in Syria, Russia used Iran and Iraq skies to ship equipment and send troops to the war-torn country. Later, Russian military planes began taking a shorter route through Turkey’s airspace. This was the result of the improvement in relations between Moscow and Ankara.
The Turkish decision to close its airspace will not likely affect Russian operations in Syria. However, it may damage Russian-Turkish relations.
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