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Plane diverts to Syria, passengers asked if they could pay for fuel

PARIS -- An emergency layover in Syria's war-torn capital was bad enough. Then passengers on Air France Flight 562 were asked to open their wallets to check if they had enough cash to pay for more fuel. 

The plane, heading from Paris to Lebanon's capital, diverted amid clashes near the Beirut airport on Wednesday. Low on fuel, it instead landed in Damascus, the capital of neighboring Syria, where a civil war is raging.


An Air France spokesman explained Friday that the crew inquired about passenger cash only as a "precautionary measure" because of the "very unusual circumstances."

 Sanctions against Syria complicated payment for extra fuel. 

He said Air France found a way to pay for the fill-up without tapping customer pockets — and apologized for the inconvenience. 

The plane landed safely in Beirut.