MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The rising tensions in several countries of the Middle East, including Yemen and Syria, could pose a serious threat to the interests of Russia, the country's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Argumenty I Fakty Russian weekly.
"Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya are in flames, there is unrest in many other countries. Further degradation of the situation there [in the Middle East] could have a serious negative impact on international stability, hurt the interests of many countries, including Russia, the southern borders of which are very close," Lavrov said.
Syria and Iraq have been battling against Islamic State (ISIL) extremists who have ceased vast areas in both countries, forcing thousands of people, mostly religious minorities to flee. A US-led international coalition has been conducting airstrikes against the militants in both countries since September, 2014.
Yemen has been largely taken over by the Shiite Houthi rebels, who have captured the capital Sanaa, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his government to resign in January. In late March, Saudi Arabia launched a military operation in Yemen, along with its Arab allies, in an effort to counter the rebels' advances with airstrikes.
Meanwhile Libya has been engulfed in violence with two rival governments operating in the country, which is also facing the threat of various rebel groups, including ISIL-affiliated militants.