Lavrov: ISIS leaders and Turkish officials discussing new ways for smuggling across Syrian-Turkish borders

Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that Turkish officials are engaged in covert communication with ISIS leaders to discuss new ways for smuggling across the Syrian-Turkish borders.

In an interview with Russia’s Moskovskij Komsomolets newspaper published on Wednesday, Lavrov said indicators show that ISIS leaders are maintaining covert communication with Turkish officials to find alternatives for smuggling, particularly since Russian airstrikes have seriously limited their ability to use traditional smuggling methods.

Regarding the Turkish infringements upon Syrian territories, Lavrov said he doesn’t believe that an invasion would occur at all, as the provocations he’s been informed of such as pitching tents and preparing facilities 100 to 200 meters from the borders with Syria doesn’t constitute an invasion, adding that he doesn’t believe that the US-led alliance which Turkey is part of wouldn’t allow such a crazy plan to be executed.

He reiterated that there can be no military solution for the crisis in Syria, and that Russia and the US had agreed on that during the support group for Syria meeting in Vienna, however, some of the United States’ allies in the region have been adamant in undermining the political process, and now there are statements about sending ground forces.

The Russian Minister noted that Saudi Arabia said it might send forces from the “alliance for combating Islamic terrorism” it created.

Regarding the shooting down of the Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkey in November 2015, Lavrov said that incident proves that Turkey’s leaders have lost their reason in dealing with the world.

On a relevant note, Lavrov discussed the crisis in Syria during a phone call with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, including the need for emphasizing the full implementation of resolution no.2254 during the international support group for Syria meeting due to be on Thursday in Munich, which will be attended by Lavrov.

Hazem Sabbagh

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