Last updated: 21 September, 2012

Iraq blocks North Korean flight to Syria

Iraq on Friday denied permission for a North Korean aircraft to cross its airspace on its way to Syria over suspicions it would carry arms and advisers there, the Iraqi premier’s spokesman said.

“Iraq forbade a North Korean airplane to cross its airspace on suspicion that it is carrying weapons and advisers for the Syrian side,” Ali Mussawi told AFP, adding that the plane was supposed to cross on Saturday.

Mussawi did not provide details of Iraq’s suspicions over the flight.

He also said that “Iraq has again officially informed Iran that it will randomly stop some flights to make sure of their cargo.”

US officials have said they suspect Iranian aircraft are carrying arms to Syria via Iraqi airspace, but Baghdad has said it has assurances the flights are carrying humanitarian aid.

Iraq has pointedly avoided calling for the departure from office of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is locked in a bloody civil war with rebels opposed to his regime, and has instead urged an end to violence by all parties.