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article imageAir France passengers asked to chip in for fuel in Damascus

By Darren Weir     Aug 17, 2012 in World
When an Air France flight was diverted to Damascus on Wednesday, the crew asked passengers if they could lend them some cash for fuel after Syrian authorities refused their credit card.
The Huffington Post reports the flight was headed for Beirut on Wednesday night but had to be re-routed because of civil unrest in the Lebanese capital. The crew tried to go to Amman, Jordan but didn`t have enough fuel and was forced to land in Syria.
Air France says that when the plane landed, airport authorities said they couldn`t accept a credit card payment and would only take cash.
An airline spokeswoman tells Reuters, "As a precaution and in anticipation, the crew asked how much money the passengers had in cash to pay to fill up with fuel." She says the airline was eventually able to pay the bill without taking money from passengers, but she wouldn't say how the bill was paid or how much it cost.
Air France ended flights to Damascus in March as the civil war escalated and relations between France and Syria have collapsed over demands that President Bashar al-Assad resign.
A passenger identified as Najib tells AFP, "We went down in Syria where there were lots of soldiers. We thought there were some problems and that there was no money to pay for the fuel."
Reuters reports a friend of one of the passengers says, "Because of the terrible relations between the two countries and the situation in Syria, the passengers were really worried about landing there."
The flight continued on to Cyprus after a two hour stop and is now due to arrive in Beirut tonight.
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