ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Pan-European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol on Tuesday warned airlines to be cautious when flying over the eastern Mediterranean region due to the possibility of air strikes into Syria within 72 hours.
US President Donald Trump and Western allies are discussing possible military action to punish Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town on Saturday.
Trump on Tuesday canceled his trip to Latin America planned for later this week to focus on the incident in Syria, the White House said.
On Monday, Trump warned of a quick and forceful response as soon as the identity of those responsible for the poison gas attack was established.
“Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR area,” Eurocontrol said in a statement published on its website.
Aviation regulators in different countries, including the US, UK, Germany, and France have previously warned airlines against entering Syrian airspace, leading most carriers to steer clear of the area.
The only flights above Syria as of 1:15 GMT on Wednesday were being flown by Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines and Syrian Air, according to FlighRadar24, a flight tracking website.
Eurocontrol’s warning cites a document from the European Aviation Safety Agency and Europe’s safety regulator.
In 2017, North Korea tested missiles without warning, leading many airlines to change flight routes to avoid areas around the Sea of Japan.
Editing by John J. Catherine