Russia has provided France with proof of Turkey’s support for the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group operating in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said here Friday.
“Gen. Valery Gerasimov has presented information concerning the continued plunder of natural resources in Syria, which are sold to provide financing for the IS, as well as the role of Turkey in this process,” the ministry said in a statement issued after Russian Armed Forces General Staff Chief Gerasimov met with his French counterpart, Pierre de Villiers, in the Russian capital.
The ministry claimed that Turkey is smuggling militants to the northern part of Syria to reinforce the terrorist group.
The two sides outlined prospects for intensifying cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, including through forming a working group of military experts from both General Staffs, the statement said.
They also agreed to promote real-time information exchange in order to coordinate their efforts aimed at launching more effective strikes against IS targets, it added.
France was the first European country to join the U.S.-led anti-IS coalition in Syria. However, since Moscow started launching its own strikes against terrorists in the country, Russia and France have not coordinated their efforts yet.
During French President Francois Hollande‘s visit to Moscow in mid-November, he and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, vowed to share military intelligence on combating the IS in Syria, which the two leaders said was a step toward forming an international anti-terror coalition.