MOSCOW - Russia is demanding an explanation from Turkish authorities after Ankara detained a Syrian civilian airplane en route from Moscow to Damascus with Russian citizens on board, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry said that Turkish authorities refused to grant Russian diplomatic staff access to 17 Russian citizens on board during the eight hours that the flight was held up because of suspicions the aircraft was carrying military equipment.

"The Russian side is insisting on an explanation of the reasons for such actions by the Turkish authorities," the statement said. It said that "the lives and safety of the passengers were placed under threat" by the incident.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger