Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday a Syrian passenger plane forced to land in Ankara was carrying Russian-made munitions destined for Syria's armed forces, ratcheting up tension with his country's war-torn neighbor.
Damascus said the plane had been carrying legitimate cargo and described Turkey's actions as an act of "air piracy", while Moscow accused Ankara of endangering the lives of Russian passengers when it intercepted the jet late on Wednesday.
The grounding of the plane was another sign of Ankara's growing assertiveness towards the crisis in Syria. Turkey's chief of staff warned on Wednesday the military would use greater force if Syrian shells continued to land in Turkey.
"This was munitions from the Russian equivalent of our Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation being sent to the Syrian Defence Ministry," Erdogan told a news conference.
A spokeswoman for Moscow's Vnukovo airport told state news agency Itar-Tass everything put on the plane had cleared customs and security checks and no prohibited items were on board.
Asked about Erdogan's statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry referred to her remarks and declined further comment.
Russia's arms export agency said it had no cargo on the flight, and the Interfax news agency quoted a Russian diplomat as saying the cargo seized by Turkey was not of Russian origin.
Syrian Arab Airlines chief Ghaida Abdulatif said in Damascus the plane had been carrying civilian electrical equipment.