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FSB chief warns global discord empowers Al-Qaeda and Islamic State

The Russian Federal Security Service chief says 25 terror attacks were prevented in Russia last year

MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terror groups, outlawed in Russia, have been able to remain resilient particularly due to international discord, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov said at the Moscow Conference on Global Security.

"Disagreements among countries are the main reason that enable organizations such as Al-Qaeda and IS to stay resilient," he stressed.

Bortnikov has not ruled out two terrorist organizations outlawed in Russia - the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda - may team up to create a new terrorist network.

"We do not rule out the possibility the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda may team up to create a renewed terrorist network," he said.

If that happens, he warned, the network will have cells in many countries around the world, as well as knowhow and infrastructures for making real, and not fake chemical weapons.

Bortnikov said that quite often groups of jihadists were redeployed to Afghanistan, Libya, or Yemen or areas deep inside Africa or countries in Southeast Asia.

"Ever more often they avoid open armed clashes to put the emphasis on guerilla warfare," he added.

The Seventh Conference on Global Security, which lasts for two days and is sponsored by the Russian Defense Ministry, opened in Moscow on Wednesday. The event has welcomed delegations from 95 countries, which include 30 defense ministers, 15 general staff chiefs and deputy defense ministers, as well as 68 leading foreign experts. The fight against terrorism in Syria tops the conference’s agenda.

Jihadist base in Syria

Bortnikov emphasized that the Jihadis’ resources in Syria had been practically wiped out.

"Jihadists’ resource base in Syria has been almost completely eliminated. A large-scale operation to deliver humanitarian aid to residents of the liberated areas is underway. Steps are being taken to assist displaced persons and facilitate the restoration of peaceful life in the country," he said, adding that the refugee flow had significantly decreased.

The FSB chief stressed that Russia was making a great contribution to the fight against international terrorist organizations. "At the same time, the successes that have already been achieved should not serve to ease anyone’s concerns. At the moment, it is important to prevent terrorists from regrouping, regaining strength and adapting to the new situation," the FSB chief pointed out. "We can see that the terrorists are trying to do that," he said.

Terror attacks in Russia

Preparations for all terror attacks in Russia last year were carried out through messengers, he went on.

"Twenty-five terror attacks were prevented and four terror attacks were carried out in Russia last year. All of them were coordinated through messengers," he said.

Bortnikov stressed that the level of mastering information technologies is rather high: both on the internet, where there are hundreds of thousands of social media accounts, and through cryptocurrencies and e-banking in the sphere of management and financing of terror activities.

The Seventh Moscow International Security Conference that opened on Wednesday sponsored by the Defense Ministry has welcomed delegations from 95 countries, including 30 defense ministers, 15 chiefs of general staff and deputy defense ministers, along with 68 leading foreign experts. The war on terror in Syria is one of the major issues on the conference’s agenda.