The Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) presented « evidence » on Wednesday that ISIS had been smuggling oil onto Turkish soil to be purchased by Turkey’s president « and his family. »
The MOD highlighted three main routes the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) had allegedly been using to transport illicit oil into Turkey: via the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh border gates in Syria’s Idlib province, Hasakah in northeastern Syria, and Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan on the Iraqi-Turkish border.
As many analysts were quick to point out on Twitter, however, none of these routes are primarily controlled by the Islamic State.
Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh are both dominated by rebel groups associated with the Free Syrian Army, and control over Hasakah province is divided between the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the US-backed Kurdish/Arab coalition. Zakho, Iraq, meanwhile, lies within the jurisdiction of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
« If you look at the map, it looks like ISIS is smuggling oil through Kurdish-controlled territories in both Iraq and Syria to Turkey, » Kurdish expert Wladimir van Wilgenburg, of the Jamestown Foundation, told Business Insider on Wednesday.
« Relations between the YPG and Turkey aren’t so good, to say the least, so it seems implausible, » van Wilgenburg added. « It would be more logical if the Russians would suggest ISIS is smuggling oil to Syrian-Turkish controlled IS border towns like Jarabulus. »
— Wladimir (@vvanwilgenburg) December 2, 2015
Two days later, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused Turkey of « playing a game where terrorists are allocated the role of secret allies, » adding that Russia was ready to block the Turkish-Syrian border to « eradicate terrorism on Syrian soil. »
It is unclear how such a blockage would be enforced, or whether it would involve stationing Russian ground troops at the border.
from Business Insider http://ift.tt/1jzzaMI