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Around 2,200 Russians fighting as militants in Syria and Iraq — Deputy Foreign Minister

July 07, 2015, 18:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Some 500 of them came from Europe, after being granted citizenship or a residence permit and a refugee status, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told TASS
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MOSCOW, July 7. /TASS/. About 2,200 Russian nationals fight in the ranks of terrorist and illegal armed units in Syria and Iraq, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told TASS on Tuesday.

"The numbers start to be really alarming. Currently, about 2,200 Russian nationals fight in Syria and Iraq. Of these, about 500 came from Europe, after being granted citizenship or a residence permit and a refugee status," he said.

"In 2014, law enforcers initiated more than 100 criminal cases… against Russian citizens’ participation in illegal armed units in Syria. Of these, more than 20 cases were sent to court," Syromolotov said.

According to him, an important task now is to prevent "any encroachments" by the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in relation to the Russian territory, citizens and institutions. "We are seriously analyzing the belligerent statements by IS leaders about moving the ‘jihad’ to the North Caucasus and Central Asia," the deputy minister said. Such a threat, unfortunately, exists, he added.

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