UAE bans Syria flights; Turkey imposes curbs

Thursday, 1 December 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The United Arab Emirates’ airlines will suspend flights to Syria  next week under sanctions imposed by the Arab League, the government of Dubai’s press office said in its Twitter feed on Wednesday.

It gave no further details. The country’s main airlines are Emirates, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia.

Meanwhile, Turkey said it had suspended all financial credit dealings with Syria and frozen Syrian government assets, joining the Arab League and Western powers in imposing economic sanctions against President Bashar Al-Assad’s government.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference that Turkey, Syria’s largest trading partner and a rising Middle East power, will also block delivery of all weapons and military equipment to Damascus as part of measures aimed at persuading Assad to end a crackdown on protesters.

A Foreign Ministry official said the sanctions come into effect immediately.

The move by Turkey, once a close friend of Syria, piles further pressure on Assad and comes after the Arab League announced economic sanctions against Damascus.      

Davutoglu also said all relations with Syria’s central bank were being suspended and that a cooperation agreement with Syria was being halted until there was a new government in place.

“Until a legitimate government which is at peace with its people is in charge in Syria, the mechanism of the High Level of Strategic Cooperation has been suspended,” Davutoglu said, adding Assad’s government had come “to the end of the road”.   

Muslim Turkey was once one of Syria’s closest regional allies, and Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had built a strong rapport with Assad.

But as the violence grew worse and Assad ignored Erdogan’s advice to halt the repression and make urgent reforms, relations became increasingly frosty and Erdogan earlier this month bluntly told Assad he should quit. - Reuters