FSB: about 1.7 thousand Russians fight in Iraq

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According to the data of Alexander Bortnikov, the Director of the Federal Security Service of Russia, the number of Russian militiamen doubled over the past year.

Bortnikov provided that information to Russian journalists after his working visit to Washington. Within the framework of his visit to the US the FSB Director took part in the summit on countering violent extremism.

Bortnikov made no secret of his worry about Russians’ participation in the war and their possible repatriation. As he said, other countries’ representatives had the same fear.

“We understand that on one hand we should prevent militiamen’s departure and on the other hand do the best to avoid extremist acts and terrorist attacks that we may expect after their return to countries of origin,” stated the Head of FSB.

Answering the question whether it was possible to forbid Russians to leave for Libya for instance as it was made in other countries, Alexander Bortnikov claimed that “there’s such a practice in other states (including European ones) when persons who want to go to conflict regions are taken away their passports. In my point of view, the state has the right to regulate the issue of citizenship termination, denaturalization, etc. But such radical measures are considered to influence citizens’ intention to participate in terrorist activities”.

Bortnikov explains that those who desire to enrol in militiamen’s structures search for back-ways responding to authorities’ regulatory act

“It’s a reciprocal process and a graded approach is a must in this case. On one hand we certainly need harsh enforcement actions. On the other hand we should be able to influence the process, understanding activities and reasons, persuading people to abandon their intentions. We need a dialogue,” stressed the FSB Head.

In October 2013 Bortnikov stated 500 Russians supported militiamen in Syria. “These are Russian citizens who left the Russian Federation or other regions. We also have the information about other CIS countries: from dozens to hundreds people”.

Thousands of foreigners fight in Syria and Iraq

Earlier Mohammed Benhamu, the President of the Moroccan Centre of strategic studies, informed that dozens of thousand foreigners from more than 80 countries fighted side by side with terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

According to Benhamu, “there are more than 5.2 thousand Tunisians, more than 3.2 thousand Saudi Arabians and around 4 thousand Libyans there”.

Moreover, 1,000 Frenchmen, 300 Swedes and 150 Germans participate in the war. Besides, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Morocco Mohammed Hassad announced that more than 1.1 thousand Moroccans and about 2 thousand Europeans of Moroccan origin participated in terrorist attack in Syria. Hassad says Moroccans become members of the extremist group named “Islamic State” “not only to fight but to have specific training”.

Text and pictures by TASS