ALEPPO, YEREVAN—The first plane carrying relief supplies to Syria from Armenia landed safely at the Aleppo airport Monday after stopping for a scheduled inspection in Erzerum, organizers reported.
The plane carrying supplies that were gathered from donors in Armenia and Artsakh under the “Help Your Brother” campaign spearheaded by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation was operated by AIR Armenia company.
Turkish and international media organization reported the plane’s layover in Turkey as a forced landing, but organizers and the Armenian foreign ministry clarified that the landing in Erzerum was agreed to by both sides.
ARF Parliamentary bloc member and coordinator of the “Help Your Brother” campaign Vahan Hovannesian told reporters that the plane was scheduled to be checked in Aintab, but the cargo monitoring was later diverted to Erzerum.
“There was nothing out of the ordinary about the landing in Turkey,” said Hvannesian. Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tirgan Balayan also confirmed that landing in Turkey was prearranged.
“We received the permission with one precondition: the airplane must land in one of the Turkish airports for cargo search,” said AIR Armenia’s Arsen Avetisyan, adding that the company itself gave consent to landing at Erzurum airport.
Sources in Armenia stated that the “Help Your Brother” initiative, with assistance from the governments of Armenia and Artsakh, included humanitarian supplies such as food, clothing, medical supplies and other essentials donated by Armenians or purchased through donations gathered from the people of Armenia and Artsakh.
While the assistance is a humanitarian effort from the people of Armenia to the people of Syria, the materials that arrived on Monday will be distributed through the Armenian Community Emergency Aid Coordinating Body and the Syrian Red Crescent.