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The Russian Defense Ministry is giving a media briefing, during which it will present evidence of sponsorship of international terrorism. Three senior military officials are taking part : Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Chief of Operations Sergey Rudskoy, Chief of National Military Control Center Mikhail Mizintsev.
Turkey is the main buyer of oil smuggled by terrorists in Syria and family members of Turkish President Recept Erdogan are involved.
Cutting the flow of oil is a necessary condition for defeating IS. Russia is conducting airstrikes on oil pumps, refineries, transport tankers and other parts of the oil infrastructure. The strikes have resulted in the loss of half of all oil smuggled by the terrorists.
The Defense Ministry showed aerial footage of oil tankers. The vehicles were said to be travelling across the Syrian-Turkish border in their hundreds.
Three main routes of oil smuggling to Turkey have been established. One goes to Turkish ports Dortyol and Iskanderun on the Mediterranean coast, where the oil is shipped to other nations.
Two other smuggling routes go to Batman refineries from northern Syria and to Cizre hub from Iraq respectively.
At least 8500 oil tankers are used by the terrorists to transport up to 200000 barrels of stolen oil, according to Russian estimates.
2000 fighters, 250 vehicles and over 120 tons of ammo have been sent in the past weeks from Turkey to terrorists in Syria, fuelling the violence in the country.
The US-led coalition has failed to intensify strikes on oil tankers and other IS oil infrastructure. Russia will send intelligence on potential targets to coalition members, assuming that a lack of intelligence may be the reason for their hesitance.
Russia, for its part, will continue attacking the oil business of the terrorists and expects the US-led coalition to do the same.
Russia cannot comprehend that such a large-scale business as oil smuggling could not have been noticed by the Turkish authorities. Russia concludes that the Turkish leadership is directly involved in the smuggling.
Russia doesn’t expect Turkish President Erdogan to resign in the face of the new evidence, even though he had promised to do so. His resignation is not Russia’s goal and is a matter for the Turkish people.
Footage of a Russian airstrike on an oil storage facility controlled by IS has been provided by the Defense Ministry.
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Russia is to provide evidence of Turkey’s role in training, arming and smuggling foreign fighters into Syria next week.
The photos and footage used in the media briefing have been published on the Defense Ministry’s website.
Responding to the Russian allegations, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that nobody had a right to “slander” Turkey by accusing it of buying oil from Islamic State.
Speaking at a university in the Qatar’s capital of Doha on Wednesday, Erdogan once again claimed that he would resign if such accusations were proven to be true and stressed he did not want Turkey’s relations with Russia to deteriorate further.
Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, the head of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia and the Russian Council of Muftis, has called for calm in the assessment of Russian-Turkish relations, and said he has instructed the employees of both organizations to refrain from sharp comments on the relationship between the two countries. "We are religious figures who are of no relation to politics", the mufti said. "We believe that today we all need to calm down, be rational and think of people’s well-being. But we think that we have not passed the point of no return as of yet. A compromise can still be found -negotiations and diplomacy can help settle any conflict”, he added.
Watch the full video of the Defense Ministry briefing :