War tensions over Syria shot up again early Thursday, Oct. 11, when the Turkish army was placed on high readiness and its chiefs pledge stronger responses to Syria. An authoritative US source told DEBKAfile that Turkey had – by forcing a Syrian civilian flight en route from Moscow land in Ankara and banning flights over Syria – begun creating a no-fly zone over Syria. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta again cited the threat of chemical warfare. US sources don’t expect Assad or Iran to take Turkish actions lying down.
Early Thursday, Moscow responded with a demand from Ankara for clarifications claiming that 17 Russians were aboard the intercepted flight. Turkey had reported 37 passengers on the plane without specifying their nationalities. The intercepted Airbus was released overnight after a part of its cargo, described as military in nature, was impounded.