Syria: US Raids Have Failed to Weaken ISIL
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Syria's foreign minister said US-led air strikes had failed to weaken the grip of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant terrorist group, and said the ISIL would not be tackled unless Turkey was forced to tighten border controls.
A US-led alliance started attacking ISIL targets in Syria in September as part of a wider effort to destroy the al-Qaeda offshoot that has seized large areas of the country and neighboring Iraq.
"All the indications say that (ISIL) today, after two months of coalition air strikes, is not weaker," Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said in an interview with the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV broadcast on Friday.
"If the Security Council and Washington do not force Turkey to control its borders then all of this action will not eliminate (ISIL)," Moualem said, referring to foreign fighters who have crossed into Syria from Turkey.
Turkey, which has a 900km frontier with Syria, has strongly denied accusations it has supported fighters, inadvertently or otherwise, in its enthusiasm to help Syrian rebels topple the Syrian government.
Moualem said Turkish calls for the establishment of a no-fly zone in northern Syria would lead to the partition of the country, adding that Turkey had designs on Syrian territory, Al Jazeera reported.
Turkey has repeatedly said a no-fly zone should be put in place to create safe areas in Syria, allowing Syrian refugees in Turkey to be repatriated.
Turkey's idea has received a cool reception from its allies.
A top NATO general said this week the idea was not being considered.
Moualem held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the Black Sea as part of a renewed Russian diplomatic push to restart peace talks on Syria.
"After our discussions with the Russian side we agreed that the dialogue will be with the national opposition that is not linked to the outside," Moualem said.
The Syrian war, which began three and a half years ago has killed an estimated 200,000 people, according to the United Nations.