2015-01-16 17:43:00

Foreign Ministry: Over 800 of Russians fighting for ISIL

Moscow, January 16, Interfax - Over 800 fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) may be Russian, in the words of Russian Foreign Ministry Department on New Threats and Challenges Director Ilya Rogachev.

"According to informal expert estimates, many more than 800 Russians are fighting for the ISIL," he told the Ekho Moskvy radio on Friday.

He added that the number of Russian citizens from the North Caucasus fight for ISIL "might not be as large as it was believed."

"There are Chechens from other countries, including those given asylum in foreign countries," he added.

Russia possesses "credible information that some notorious field commanders of the ISIL are Kist Chechens who are most probably citizens of Georgia," Rogachev said.

"They were trained on Georgia's territory, probably, by Georgian specialists who had been coached by the Americans," he said.

The Russian diplomat presumed that the terrorist expansion had become possible because of the external military aid given to the Syrian opposition.

"A main reason why this expansion has become possible is the sweeping encouragement and arming of the domestic Syrian opposition for its fight against the President Bashar al-Assad regime," Rogachev said.

Terrorism should be fought without destabilizing the lawful government but by helping it resist "various kinds of criminal phenomenon," the diplomat indicated.