Iraq bars Syria-bound plane with suspected arms
Beirut: Iraq prevented a North Korean plane from entering its airspace on suspicion it was carrying weapons for Syria, prompting praise from the US but also demands for a ban of Iranian aircraft with similar suspect cargo.
Iraq's decision could potentially close a supply line for Syrian President Bashar Assad's embattled regime, which is fighting a civil war against rebels trying to topple him.
US officials have accused Baghdad of allowing Iran like North Korea an ally of Syria to fly weapons to Syrian forces through Iraqi airspace, a charge Iraq has denied.
"We urge the government of Iraq to take additional steps to prevent others, including Iran, from abusing its airspace by shipping arms to Syria," US State Department spokesman Michael Lavallee said yesterday, calling the move to ban the North Korean flight a "positive step."
Syria's conflict has reached in a bloody stalemate, with neither side able to deliver a knockout blow, while the international community has failed to come up with a plan for ending the violence.