MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned flights by US carriers over Syria, the agency said in a statement Monday.
“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 US operators from flying into, out of, and over Syria,” the statement said.
“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,” the FAA added.
Opposition groups successfully shot down Syrian military aircraft using the anti-aircraft weapon systems during the course of the conflict, according to the agency.
The ongoing civil war in Syria has claimed at least 100,000 lives since the conflict began in March 2011, according to the last UN figures, released in July 2013. This April, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had registered the deaths of over 150,000 people since the start of the conflict.
In Syria, government forces are opposed by numerous groups of armed rebels, including the Islamic State (IS) Sunni militant group. In June, the IS launched an offensive in northern and western Iraq, announcing the establishment of a caliphate on the Iraq-Syria border.