Tayyip Erdogan & Nabil Elaraby
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby during their meeting in Istanbul - Reuters

Syria has decided to ban Turkish civilian flights over its territory, plunging relations between Damascus and Ankara to a new low.

The ban comes into immediate effect. Damascus imposed the ban after Ankara intercepted a Syrian-bound flight for allegedly carrying Russia-made defence equipment in a passenger aircraft.

Although Ankara said it wound continue to monitor Syrian flights, it did not impose a ban on them contrary to the foreign ministry claims in Damascus.

The two countries have been locking horns over the last few weeks as tension mounts in the border region. Shelling has been regularly reported in the area after five Turkish civilians were killed in cross-border firing.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government has criticised the UN Security Council for not acting tough on the Syrian regime.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan faulted the approach of the UN for what he called its failure to halt the 19-month-long conflict in Syria which has reportedly claimed nearly 30,000 lives.

"The UN Security Council has not intervened in the human tragedy that has been going on in Syria for 20 months, despite all our efforts," Erdogan told a news conference in Istanbul adding: "There's an attitude that encourages, gives the green light to Assad to kill tens or hundreds of people every day."

Ergodan went on to cite the Bosnia massacres during the 1990s and said the UN should not repeat its mistakes which eventually led to the carnage in Bosnia.

"If we wait for one or two of the permanent members ... then the future of Syria will be in danger," warned the Turkish prime minister.

He alleged that the UN fails to represent the will of the majority of nations across the world.

Erdogan's fiery remarks come at a time when UN and Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Soon after the meeting which was also attended by the Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Davutoglu vowed that Turkey will take severe action.

"If a similar incident occurs again from the Syrian side, we will again take counter action," said Davutoglu.

Barhimi is likely to visit Damascus later this week in his attempt to bring the crisis to an end.