Turkish air space closed to planes carrying troops from Russia to Syria

NATO member Turkey has good relations with both Russia and Ukraine and has sought to mediate in the war between them.

 Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a joint news conference with Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani, in Manama, Bahrain, January 31, 2022.  (photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a joint news conference with Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani, in Manama, Bahrain, January 31, 2022.
(photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)

Turkish air space has been closed to military and civilian planes carrying troops from Russia to Syria after consultation with Moscow, Turkey's state broadcaster TRT Haber cited Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying on Saturday.

NATO member Turkey has good relations with both Russia and Ukraine and has sought to mediate in the war between them.

"We closed airspace to Russia's military planes and even to civilian planes going to Syria and carrying soldiers," Cavusoglu was quoted as saying to reporters on a plane en route to Uruguay. He said permission had been given for three month periods until April, and then the flights stopped.

He said talks were continuing between Russia and Ukraine and the sides were working towards a draft joint declaration.

Cavusoglu said if progress is made in negotiations, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had agreed that a meeting could be held in Turkey.

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference for foreign media in Kyiv, Ukraine March 12, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference for foreign media in Kyiv, Ukraine March 12, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

Russia and Syria

Russia has a well-established military presence in Syria, with the ruling regime of President Bashar Assad being a close Moscow ally. 

Regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russia has said that they will be accepting volunteer fighters from Syria to aid in what Moscow calls a "special military operation."

On March 11, Putin said he would allow 16,000 such volunteers.

Later that month, Assad promised to provide Russia with 40,000 Syrian militants.