WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The war against the Islamic State will go on much longer if Turkey fails to help stem the flow of foreign fighters by closing its border with Syria, former US Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb told Sputnik.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama said there were still gaps in a 60-mile stretch of Syria’s northern border with Turkey that the Islamic State (ISIL), also known as Daesh, has been exploiting to ship out fuel for sale to finance its activities. US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford later said that stemming the flow of foreign fighters into Syria was critical and will require more effective intelligence sharing among more than 100 nations.
"General Dunford’s point is good… if we can’t stop the flow of foreign fighters this thing will go on much longer," Korb told Sputnik on Tuesday. "If Turkey closed its border [with Syria] it would be harder for these people to get in when they got there."
Earlier on Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, in addition to calling on Turkey to close its border, complained that Turkish airstrikes have been primarily targeting Kurdish fighters in Syria and not Daesh.
Relations between Russia and Turkey deteriorated after the November 24 downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria by a Turkish fighter jet. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident "a stab in the back."
On Monday, Putin claimed that Russia possessed additional evidence indicating that oil from fields controlled by Daesh is being transported to Turkey on an industrial scale.
Daesh is a militant group which has been outlawed and designated a terrorist organization in numerous countries including Russia.