Turkey forced a Syrian passenger jet en route from Moscow to Damascus to land late Wednesday because the plane was believed to be holding Russian ammunition and military equipment, according to the Star Tribune via The Associated Press.
The jet was on its way to the Syrian Defense Ministry; the seized jet cargo included missile parts, radio receivers, and other military communications equipment. The equipment is currently being examined by Turkish officals, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Syria labeled the incident piracy while the Russians called the search illegal, citing that it endangered the lives of the Russian citizens on board the Airbus A320 that was intercepted over Turkish airspace.
Erdogan referenced the international law that defense industry equipment, ammunition, or weapons cannot be carried on passenger planes. Turkey did not indicate how - or from whom - they had learned of the transport of military equipment via the passenger jet.
The United States said it backed Turkey's decision to intercept the plane, according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. She declined to comment on Turkish reports that the intelligence of the plane's contents came from the United States.
This incident is one of many that have contributed to the plummeting relations between Turkey and Syria, which has expanded into a civil war that "threatens the stability of the Middle East," according to the Associated Press's report.