Russia has accused the U.S. of colluding with both ISIS and Turkey in the smuggling of oil into Turkey from ISIS militants in Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement on Saturday, saying, “When US officials say they don’t see how the terrorists’ oil is smuggled to Turkey… it smells badly of a desire to cover up these acts“.
“The declarations of the Pentagon and the State Department seem like a theater of the absurd,” the statement further noted, saying US authorities “watch the videos taken by its (own) drones which have recently been three times as numerous over the Turkey-Syria border and above the oil zones.”
The development came as US special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, Amos Hochstein, stated on Friday that the quantity of oil illicitly trafficked into Turkey from Syrian territories that remain under the control of the Daesh terror group is “of no significance from a volume perspective — both volume of oil and volume of revenue.”
“I don’t believe that there is significant smuggling, between ISIL-controlled areas and Turkey of oil in any significance in volume,” said the senior US official on Friday.
Hochstein’s remarks came after the Kremlin alleged that Ankara was profiting from the illegitimate trade.
Moscow and Ankara have been exchanging allegations in recent days over Turkey’s involvement in the illicit oil trade.
Tensions have been escalating between the two countries after Turkish war planes shot down a Russian bomber on the Syrian border.
NATO authorities have estimated that Daesh pockets $1.0 million to $1.5 million per day from the smuggling of stolen Syrian oil into Turkey, expressing “hopes” that renewed air strikes by US, British and French forces reduce that amount.
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