By Keith Laing - 08/18/14 08:01 PM EDT
The Federal Aviation Administration is banning flights over Syria due to the “ongoing armed conflict and volatile security environment” in the country, the agency announced on Monday night.
“Based on an updated assessment of the risk associated with such operations and the lack of any requests from operators wishing to fly in this airspace, we believe it prudent to prohibit U.S. operators from flying into, out of, and over Syria,” the agency said in a statement announcing the prohibition.
“The ongoing armed conflict and volatile security environment in Syria poses a serious potential threat to civil aviation,” the FAA statement continued. “Armed extremist groups in Syria are known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons which have the capability to threaten civilian aircraft. Opposition groups have successfully shot down Syrian military aircraft using these anti-aircraft weapon systems during the course of the conflict.”
The agency said on Monday night that it was worried about commercial jets becoming targets for extremist in Syria.
“Opposition elements have previously warned civilian air carriers against providing service to Syria,” the agency said. “Due to the presence of anti-aircraft weapons among the extremist groups and ongoing fighting in various locations throughout Syria, there is a continuing significant potential threat to civil aviation operating in Syrian airspace.”