Russia says Turkey supplies Islamic State via Syrian town of Azaz

A frame grab taken from footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry on Dec 25, 2015, shows trucks crossing the Turkish-Syrian border, which, according to the ministry, carry oil. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Turkey has vowed it will not let the Syrian town of Azaz fall into the hands of Kurdish forces because it lies on a supply route used by Ankara to support Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday (Feb 16).

Turkey accused Russia on Monday of an "obvious war crime"after missile attacks in northern Syria killed scores of people, and warned the YPG Kurdish militia it would face the "harshest reaction" if it tried to capture Azaz near the Turkish border.

"Some of our partners have literally implored us 'not to touch' a corridor which is a bit shorter than 100 kilometres on the Syrian-Turkish border around Azaz," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in official comments, mentioning Washington and its allies also operating in Syria.

"Obviously, this is aimed at ensuring continued daily supplies to Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra 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.

Earlier on Tuesday the Kremlin strongly rejected accusations by Turkey that Russian bombs hit several medical facilities and schools in northern Syria, saying they were unfounded.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.