MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Moscow is concerned that Russian nationals who fight alongside the Islamic State (IS) could continue their terrorism activities upon return, and Russian security services are closely monitoring the situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
“We understand this, take it into account and work accordingly. I cannot say that we know all [Russian IS members] by name, but we know the approximate number, where they fight and train. Some of them we already know by name."
Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a radical Sunni group that currently controls vast territories in Iraq and Syria. IS affiliates also operate in North Africa, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. IS fighters are notorious for many human rights atrocities, including kidnappings and brutal public executions.
On April 10, deputy head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) Army Gen. Sergei Smirnov said that approximately 1,700 Russian citizens are fighting on the side of IS.
According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence estimates, between 800 and 1,500 Russian nationals have joined the IS.