Russia warns of thousands of foreign troops in ISIL

MOSCOW, Nov. 05 (MNA) – Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said today that between 20,000 and 30,000 foreigners are fighting among the troops of the ISIL in Syria and Iraq, many from his own country and Asia.

Speaking at the third meeting of defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its dialogue partners, which started on Monday in Kuala Lumpur, Antonov stressed that most of these foreign terrorists come from the Asia-Pacific region.

The deputy minister warned of the danger posed by the return of these terrorists "home, with the potential for violence and extremism" and their further promotion of radical ideas and start organizing sabotages.

One of the main tasks in Syria and Iraq is to stop this threat, stressed Antonov to the defense ministers of the 10 ASEAN nations, plus Australia, China, Japan, India, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States, which together with Russia hold the category of regional dialogue partners. 

Ordering an operation of the Russian Air Forces since last September 30th in support of the Syrian Army, President Vladimir Putin said that between five and seven thousand fighters from Russia and other former Soviet republics integrate ISIL troops.

The Russian General Staff reported that since the start of operations the Russian pilots conducted 1.631 combat flights, destroyed 2.084 objectives of the military infrastructure of the ISIL and other terrorist groups, and eliminated over a thousand terrorists troops, including about 30 of their top leaders.

All these strikes caused a qualitative change in the operational situation, characterized today by the fact that the Syrian loyalist forces maintain the initiative and advance towards strategic points and areas.

Military sources quoted by Novosti confirmed yesterday the total control by the Syrian Army of the Ithriya-Khanasar-Salamyeh motorway, linking Aleppo with the rest of the country through Hama, which is a key artery to supply the government forces.

In this context, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov described as "useful" and "fruitful" the contacts between the Russian Defense Ministry and representatives of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition, to coordinate strikes against ISIL, along with progress in the search for a political settlement to the conflict.

For its part, the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said in Moscow on Wednesday that the international community ought to assist the Syrian authorities and the opposition to engage in dialogue without preconditions, as recently agreed in Vienna.

The UN official agreed with Moscow when answering to a question by the press, that the constitutional future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is only up to the nationals of that country.

 

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News Code 111667

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