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Daesh smuggles majority of oil via Turkey: Iraqi PM

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (AFP photo)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Daesh Takfiri terrorist group carries out the majority of its oil smuggling through Turkey.

Abadi made the remarks in a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier in Baghdad on Monday, during which he highlighted the "importance of stopping oil smuggling by [Daesh] terrorist gangs, the majority of which is smuggled via Turkey," his office said in a statement.

The remarks came as tensions have been on the rise in Baghdad-Ankara relations over Turkey’s deployment of troops to northern Iraq and Daesh oil smuggling via Turkish territory.

On Saturday, Abadi urged Turkey to withdraw its several hundred forces immediately from Iraq’s northern Nineveh Province and called Ankara's move "an incursion".

Turkey, accused of supporting Daesh terror group, claims the deployment is a routine rotation to train Iraqis to retake Mosul from Daesh, which captured Iraq's second-largest city in 2014.

Accusations over Turkey’s role in Daesh oil smuggling were also raised by Russia. On November 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he received additional information confirming that Daesh had been conducting its oil sales via Turkey.

A screen grab from a video released by the Russian Defense Ministry shows Russian jets targeting a convoy of Daesh tankers transporting oil. (RT photo)

Russia has on several occasions accused Turkey of buying illegal oil from Daesh. The terrorist group is smuggling oil from the areas which it has overrun in Iraq and Syria, selling it to middlemen in the region. Russian military planes, which are used for an aerial campaign against Daesh and other militant groups, have repeatedly targeted trucks used by Daesh to smuggle oil.

On November 29, Iraqi MP Mowaffak al-Rubaie said Daesh had made more than USD 800 million in black market oil sales in Turkey over the last eight months.

“This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold ... [at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price,” Rubaie added.

He further noted that the oil is either refined and used in Turkey or sold on the international market.

Turkey has rejected oil trade with Daesh with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that he will step down if the accusation is proven to be true.

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