Russia FM believes US-led coalition will prevent Turkey from invading Syria
CİHAN photoThe U.S.-led coalition will not allow Turkey to realize its “crazy” plans of a full-scale invasion of Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with daily Moskovsky Komsomolets on Feb. 10, according to TASS news agency, adding that Turkey and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were negotiating in secret, discussing new ways of smuggling oil.
“We are very worried about the messages that are constantly coming publicly and through private channels that Turkey specifically plans to or perhaps already has begun claiming parts of the Syrian territory under the pretext of creating tent camps… accumulating Syrian refugees, not allowing them to cross the Turkish border, where, according to them, the camps are already overcrowded,” Lavrov said.
“I don’t think it might ever happen. Minor provocations I have told about [previously] are not a full-scale intrusion after all,” Lavrov said, referring to the alleged construction of tent camps and the preparation of engineering facilities some 100-200 meters into Syrian territory and several kilometers along the frontline.
“I don’t think the coalition led by the Americans and having Turkey as its member will realize such crazy plans,” he added.
The minister noted the desire of a number of regional countries to solve the crisis in Syria through military means.
“At the Vienna meeting of the International Syria Support Group we and the United States were willing and actively offered to put in the documents, and then in the United Nations Security Council resolution, one very simple phrase: The Syrian crisis has no military solution. The United States, Russia and the European states were in favor of this,” Lavrov noted. “However, some American allies in the region decisively blocked the idea. So [the military scenario] is quite possible. Now we hear statements about plans to send land forces,” he added.
Turkey and ISIL in secret talks
Lavrov also said Turkey and ISIL were negotiating in secret, discussing new ways of smuggling oil.
“There are indications that the leadership of the Islamic State [ISIL] keeps secret contacts with Turkish officials,” Lavrov said. “They are discussing alternative options in the current circumstances, when the strikes of our aerospace forces have seriously limited the possibilities of traditional smuggling routes,” he added.
Russia has accused on various occasions Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family of aiding ISIL through illegal oil trading, claims Ankara has strongly denied.