Damascus, Syria – More than 2,200 Russian fighters have joined the ranks of the Islamic State radical group (IS/ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, according to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister.
“The figures start getting really alarming,” Oleg Syromolotov said on Tuesday.
“At the time being, around 2,200 people from Russia are engaged in the fighting in Syria and Iraq,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told reporters on Tuesday.
“Among them, about 500 came from Europe, where they had earlier obtained citizenship, residence permit or refugee status.”
“We are thoroughly analyzing belligerent statements of IS leaders on transition of the ‘jihad’ to Northern Caucasus and in Central Asia,” Syromolotov said, stressing the need to face any threats by IS militant group towards Russia.
He added that the major threat comes from foreign jihadists who join the radical groups in the Middle-East and return to their homelands after being trained.
“It’s clear that they bring along not only their terrorist potential itself, but also radical ideas, a source for negative ideological impact on the society, especially on its most vulnerable members,” Syromolotov said.
According to U.N. reports, more than 20,000 foreign fighters are currently active in Syria and Iraq, where extremists of IS have taken over large areas.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi
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