Russia Wants Turkey-Syria Border Shut to Stop Arms Flow

The Cobertt Report:  Making Sense of the Syrian Cease Fire with Pepe Eschobar - A discussion of the myriad of factions involved 


(Reuters) March 1, 2016 - Russia called on Tuesday for the Syrian-Turkish border to be closed, saying arms were being hidden in humanitarian aid convoys and channeled to fighters of Islamic State and its allies.
Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is on poor terms with Turkey since it shot down a Russian warplane last November, has repeatedly accused Ankara of preparing for an armed intervention across the border into Syria.
Speaking in Geneva against the backdrop of a U.S.-Russia negotiated deal for a cessation of hostilities in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "A very special task is to cut the terrorists' supply from the outside," referring to Islamic State, the Nusra Front and others "of their kind".
"For this purpose the Syrian-Turkish border has to be closed, since across this border those gangs receive arms, including with humanitarian convoys," Lavrov said in remarks to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The cessation of hostilities agreement, which does not include military action against Islamic State and the Nusra Front, came into force early on Saturday.
"There is no place for terrorists and extremists" in the ceasefire agreement or a political settlement, Lavrov said.
Russia said on Tuesday its military had registered 15 ceasefire violations in Syria over the past 24 hours, but its warplanes were refraining from striking the areas where the truce was respected by "the moderate opposition".
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov and Lidia Kelly; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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