Moscow calls on West to force Turkey allow intl observers at its ‘porous’ border with Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. © Mikhail Voskresenskiy
The ‘porous’ Turkey-Syria border facilitates the actions of terrorists and flow of smuggled goods, Russia’s foreign minister said, adding that the only way to stop the process is to invite international observers.

“It’s clear that international observers could be deployed there only at Turkey’s request and we give special attention to the matter, in the UN as well, hoping that our Western partners will manage to compel Ankara to do so,” Sergey Lavrov said on Friday at a press conference after a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishido, in Tokyo.

There is no other possible way to tackle the situation on the “porous” Turkey-Syria border with Islamic State militants’ smuggling routes still running intact, Russia’s foreign minister added.

Gunmen and weapons get into Syria from Turkey while various illegal goods are being smuggled from Syria, even though their flow “has decreased thanks to our [Russian] Air Forces, but it still exists,” Lavrov said.

“Since Turkey is shrugging off the problem as it is, we propose, so far not in any official format but as a draft resolution or some other decision, that Turkey invites independent international observers to its territory to watch what is actually going on at this border,” Lavrov said.

Russia is constantly raising the matter of the Turkey-Syria border with partners who are interested in quelling the Syrian crisis, particularly with the American officials, since Turkey is a member of the US-led anti-terrorist coalition, Lavrov said. US diplomats, concerned with the border problem as well, say they are taking measures trying to find a solution, he added.

Turkey that has been repeatedly implicated as a consumer of cheap oil produced by Islamic State in Syria. In March an RT documentary crew obtained documents left by IS militants that suggested a link between Turkey and IS oil production. An IS militant in an interview with RT said that there had been no guards at the Turkey-Syria border to stop them and they moved freely from one country to another.

Earlier in December, Russia’s defense ministry released satellite images showing oil trucks going from Islamic State installations in Syria to Turkey.

However, the Turkish government has denied all of the allegations regarding Ankara’s involvement in terrorist financial activity.

Islamic State has benefited from the trade in looted Syrian antiquities and artifacts as well, another RT journalist investigation has suggested. Despite a UN Security Council ban on buying illegally obtained antiquities from Syria and Iraq, there have been reports on some of the items worth thousands of dollars turning up later in antique markets in Europe and the US and then ending up in private collections.