The Russian intelligence services regularly observe convoys transporting oil from eastern Syria to Turkey and Iraq, with the proceeds from the transactions used in the financing of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov said in a written statement issued on Wednesday, Sputnik International reported.
“The funds from the sale of oil products are being spent on financing terrorists belonging to [ISIL],” Gerasimov stated.
“In December of last year, the active phase of the operation to eliminate gangs in Syria was completed. Today, [ISIL] militants are only east of the Euphrates, in territory controlled by the United States,” Gerasimov said.
He also stressed that so-called “sleeper” cells of the ISIL terrorist organization have progressed to active operations and have begun expanding their zone of influence.
“The United States is always telling us about some fight against ISIL in the east of Syria. But we are seeing the opposite. ‘Sleeper’ terrorist cells have become active and as a result, [ISIL] has begun expanding its zone of influence in the east of the country,” Gerasimov said.
The chief of Russia’s General Staff added that the terrorists in the west of Syria had been eliminated by Syrian authorities and special services.
The Russian administration submitted a report to the United Nations exhibiting the oil transportation from Syria to Turkey and its ties to the financing of ISIL three years ago, when relations between Ankara and Moscow were strained because of the downing of a Russian jet by the Turkish military on the Turkish-Syrian border.