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Terrorists in Syria get arms via Turkey border: Russia

Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov

Russia says terrorists active in Syria’s volatile northwestern region still receive arms smuggled through the Turkish border during night.

"Simultaneously, weapons, ammunition and manpower reinforcements are still being smuggled across the Turkish-Syrian border at nighttime to supply terrorists in Idlib and Aleppo," Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday.

As clashes escalate in Aleppo Province, foreign-backed militants are massively evacuating their families to areas near the Turkish border, the Russian official said, adding, "However, as the Turkish authorities have tightened the pass controls, chiefly injured militants are allowed to pass across the border unimpeded."

Turkey's military has been shelling Kurdish positions in northern Syria since February 13. Turkey’s raids came after the Kurdish fighters, backed by Russian airstrikes, drove the militants from areas near the Turkish border.

Russia's Defense Ministry accused Ankara of launching “massed” artillery strikes on positions held by Syrian government forces as well as those by patriotic opposition groups.

Turkish soldiers take position as artillery fire from the border near the town of Kilis toward Syria on February 16, 2016. ©AP

Turkey has been among the main supporters of the militant groups operating in Syria, with reports saying that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri terrorists there and facilitates their safe passage into the crisis-hit Arab country.

Turkey has also been accused on numerous occasions of being involved in illegal oil trade with the Takfiri Daesh terrorists. Russia has released pictures and videos purportedly showing the movement of oil tankers from Daesh-controlled areas in Syria toward Turkey.

In another development on Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said some Western countries had called on Moscow not to hit a 100-kilometer corridor on the Syria-Turkey frontier around the city of Azaz in order to keep terrorists' supply routes open.

"Obviously, this (the request) is aimed at ensuring continued daily supplies to ISIS (Daesh), al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups with weapons, ammunition and food from Turkey via this area, and also to allow it to serve as a passageway for terrorists," she said.

Russia launched its own campaign against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria last September upon a request from the Damascus government. The airstrikes have expedited the advances of Syrian forces against militants.

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