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Turkey has shut its airspace to Russian civil and military aircraft carrying troops from Russia to Syria, a ban that will be effective for three months.

The move is said to add to the growing external pressure on Russia following its Ukraine offensive and could increase the cost of the war for Russia.

However, there is no clarity on whether the decision aims to bar the possible movement of Syrian fighters to Ukraine.

It is said to be the first time that Turkish airspace has blocked Russian aircraft since Russia intervened in Syria’s civil war in 2015.

Turkey Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was quoted by Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT Haber as saying: “We closed airspace to Russia’s military planes and even to civilian planes going to Syria and carrying soldiers.”

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The closure of Turkish airspace is said to increase pressure on Russia amid its conflict with Ukraine, which is now entering the third month.

The move also comes ahead of the visit of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara.

Guterres also plans to meet Putin and Zelenskyy later in the week.

Turkey, which is a NATO member, has maintained good relations with Russia as well as Ukraine.

It has also agreed to serve as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia and has previously hosted the countries’ foreign ministers for talks.

However, a Turkish official familiar with the development said that the restrictions are unlikely to halt the movements of soldiers and weapons to Syria from Russia.

According to Bloomberg, the latest move by Turkey is aimed at displaying its solidarity with other members of NATO.