CIS Security Services to Track Syria Mercenaries

BISHKEK, May 15 (RIA Novosti) – The security services of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states will be closely monitoring the movement of mercenaries from CIS nations fighting in Syria, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) head Alexander Bortnikov said on Wednesday.

According to the FSB, some 200 mercenaries from Russia, as well as from CIS member states and Europe, are fighting in Syria’s civil war.

“They [mercenaries] pose a severe danger. It is highly important to track their movements following the end of hostilities,” the FSB chief said.

The future fate of mercenaries active in Syria is of concern not only to the CIS special services, but European secret services as well, Bortnikov added.

The CIS member states are to set up a database of mercenaries in Syria to exchange information that would help in “taking measures in case of preparation of terrorist attacks,” he said.

Last year, the Syrian government presented the UN Security Council with lists of hundreds of foreign nationals who had been killed fighting against government forces in Syria. The lists included mercenaries from Arab countries, Europe, and Russia’s North Caucasus region, including Chechnya.

Last month in an interview with SkyNewsArabia television channel, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Chechens fighting in Syria were merely mercenaries fighting for money and had nothing to do with his republic.

The Syrian conflict, which started in March 2011 with peaceful protesters demanding reforms, has gradually turned into a full-scale civil war threatening to spill over into neighboring nations.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to the United Nations, with the death toll growing every day as fierce fighting between government troops and rebels continues.


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