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Lavrov: Turkey should prove at UN it is not backing terrorists in Syria

May 17, 18:10 UTC+3 VIENNA
The Turkish side considers the allegations "nonsense"
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VIENNA, May 17. /TASS/. Ankara, instead of mere denial, needs to prove at the UN Security Council that it is not supporting terrorists in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna.

"There is a section of the border in Syria, just over 90 km, which is controlled form the Syrian side by militants of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) and from the other side is controlled by Turkey," the Russian foreign minister said. "There are two Turkish enclaves there. And Turkey says periodically that if the Kurds begin to oust IS from that border section, then Ankara will not tolerate this - the junction of forces of two Kurdish enclaves."

"But somebody should combat this terrorist group in this area," Lavrov said. "This section is full of holes, providing the routes for the smuggling of arms to the militants. Now it (smuggling scale) has considerably reduced." "However, this testifies to a very serious extensive network which was created by the Turkish side in order to continue and mask these supplies," the minister said.

"We circulated at the UNSC an unofficial document some time ago that gathered facts from open sources confirming the unflattering and unacceptable activity (support of gunmen in Syria)," Lavrov said. "Our Turkish neighbors in the UNSC said all this was nonsense," he said. The document had names of settlements and Turkish organizations involved in this activity and many other facts, he said. "That’s why instead of denial without proof it would be better to explain at the UN why this is not true," Lavrov said.

"And today the Turkish minister, when I reminded him of this, confirmed that they flatly deny everything that is written there," Lavrov added. "We are not trying to deride (Turkey) over this, not trying to take revenge on anybody," the minister said. "We want to settle the Syrian crisis problem by peaceful political means. Everything we do is aimed exactly at this," Lavrov said.

The ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States officially came into effect in Syria on February 27. This does not cover terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, both outlawed in Russia, and other groups recognized as terrorist by the United Nations Security Council.

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