MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East and African countries, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has held talks with the chairman of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party Saleh Muslim. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the meeting took place on Thursday in Paris.
"The discussion focused on the developments in Syria and around it with emphasis on consolidating efforts in fighting against the threat coming from the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations, and promoting political settlement of the Syrian crisis on the basis of the Geneva communique from 30 June 2012 that guarantees sovereignty, territorial integrity and secularity of the country where equal legal rights are ensured for all ethnic-religious groups living on its territory," the foreign ministry said.
On September 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted the role of the Kurdish self-defense forces in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization and described the Kurdish forces as "natural allies".
"Talking about the fight against terrorism, we always say that those who fight against IS should united. This includes the Syrian army, Iraqi army because IS operates mostly on the territory of these two countries," Lavrov said. "However, the effort should not be limited to these two countries. IS is spreading its influence to other countries of the region. Of course, Kursdish self-defense forces in Iraq and Syria are natural allies in the fight against this terrorist structure," he added.
The Islamic State is an extremist organization banned in Russia. In 2013-2014, it called itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In June 2014, IS announce the establishment of the "Islamic caliphate" on the territories seized in Iraq and Syria. According to US’ Central Intelligence Agency, the extremist group includes around 30,000 people, while Iraqi authorities claim there are around 200,000 in IS. Among members of the group are citizens of 80 countries, including France, Great Britain, Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, US, Canada, as well as Russia and other CIS countries. According to reports, militants now control around 40% of the Iraqi territory and 50% of the Syrian territory.