Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad enter a hall during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015. Assad made a surprise visit to Moscow on Tuesday evening to thank Putin for launching air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria. Picture taken October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.

Russian-speaking jihadis in Syria ‘could threaten Moscow in future’

Thousands of Russian-speaking jihadis fighting for Islamic State and other militant groups in Syria and Iraq could cause serious problems for Moscow in the medium- and long-term future, according to a thinktank.

Vladimir Putin and other senior officials have repeatedly stated that Russia’s engagement in the Syrian civil war was in part a response to the number of Russians – mainly Chechens and other natives of the restive North Caucasus region – fighting in the region.

On Wednesday, as Russia continued withdrawing its fighter planes from Syria after Putin announced a drawdown of the mission earlier in the week, the International Crisis Group (ICG) published a report suggesting that it had been a deliberate Russian policy to allow Islamist radicals to leave Russia for Syria in the first place.

  • T.C.

    I think the Russians already consider this a “serious problem.” Unlike our feckless leader, they believe that when they kill a jihadist, they win the war.

  • Blacksmith

    Unbelievable that people think letting jihadi’s go to Syria is a bad thing. Let them go. Just don’t let them come back.

  • canminuteman

    The Russians will have less of a problem than we do, because they are quite willing to kill their enemies.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Col. Ralph Peters has a different take on Russia’s withdrawal from Syria. He says that Putin knows when to cut his losses.

    nypost.com/2016/03/15/the-syrian-war-just-taught-putin-to-worry-about-iran

    • Alain

      What losses? Russia accomplished its objective.

      • T.C.

        I agree. The article in the NY Post stiches together a lot of wishful thinking. Like this sentence:

        “Putin’s initial bet on Shia Iran also backfired by turning the Islamic
        world’s Sunni majority against him — not least Saudi Arabia, which can
        continue to hold down the price of oil and gas, punishing Russia’s
        economy far more than it wounds American fracking efforts.”

        S.A. isn’t continuing to “hold down the price of oil and gas” to damage the Russian and the U.S. oil interests. The prices of S.A. oil and gas are down because the U.S. is flooding the world with a tidal wave of cheap fracked oil (and the cheap gas that comes with it)! Col. Ralphy sees conspiracy where none exists. He’s what you would call a “conspiracy theorist.”