WASHINGTON - The amount of oil being smuggled into Turkey from Syria was not enough for anyone to profit from it significantly, a senior US State Department official said on Friday, rejecting claims by Russia that top Turkish officials were benefiting by smuggling oil from areas of Syria controlled by Islamic State.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States believed most of the oil smuggled from Islamic State-controlled areas was going into Syrian government-controlled territory and some into Iraq.
The Russian defense ministry claimed this week that it has proof Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his family were benefiting from smuggling oil from Islamic State-held territory. Erdogan denied the charges, saying he would stand down if such allegations were proven true.
"Our assessment is that there is not a lot of smuggling happening of any significant volume between ISIL controlled territories and Turkey," the official said. "The volume itself of the oil being smuggled is extremely low and has decreased over time."
The official estimated that to smuggle about 20,000 barrels of oil into Turkey per day it would take about 1,000 trucks, a number that had not been seen crossing the border.