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About 10,000 natives of post-Soviet countries fight on IS side — Syrian ambassador

November 20, 2015, 15:44 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
"They are also posing a threat to Russia’s national security," the diplomat said
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ST. PETERSBURG, November 20 /TASS/. About 10,000 natives of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries are fighting on the side of the Islamic State terrorist group, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad told journalists in St. Petersburg on Friday.

"About 10,000 IS militants come from the CIS. They are also posing a threat to Russia’s national security," the diplomat said.

Russia has banned the Islamic State as an extremist organization.

About 2,000 terrorist groups operate in Syria

According to the ambassador, about 2,000 terrorist groups are operating in Syria, the largest of them is Islamic State.

"When the Russian Aerospace Forces began their operations, all small terrorist groups immediately affiliated with IS," he said. "Now terrorist forces comprise about 2,000 groups."

"With the support of Russian aircraft the Syrian army is conducting a ground operation and achieves great success," Riad Haddad said. "Many terrorists are retreating towards the Turkish border."

"We will continue to confront terror until its complete eradication," the ambassador said.

Syria coordinates with Russia all moves against terrorism

The diplomat stressed that Syria fully coordinates with Russia all moves to counter terrorism.

"Russia’s action is very important in terms of destroying terrorism, and Syria is coordinating with Russia in full all moves to counter terrorism," he said.

"Naturally, after a meeting on Syria in Vienna [on November 14], a high-ranking Syrian delegation must visit Russia to discuss what moves should be taken to overcome our crisis," he said.

The ambassador said the delegation would be led by the Syrian foreign minister.

On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that the foreign ministers of Russia and Syria, Sergey Lavrov and Walid Muallem, could meet in Moscow next week.

Later on Thursday, special representative of the Russian president for the Middle East and African countries, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, confirmed that talks were scheduled for November 27.

An agreement was reached at the broad ministerial meeting on Syria in Vienna on November 14 to contribute to the holding, by January 1, 2016, of a meeting between the Syrian government and opposition delegations in order to later achieve establishment of a transitional governing body.

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