Russia initiated its campaign of air strikes in Syria primarily to prevent militants fighting with Islamic State (IS) from returning to their home countries in the former Soviet Union, says the head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).
Speaking at a conference in Moscow on October 28, FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov estimated that people from more than 100 countries are now fighting for IS in Syria and Iraq, including "about 10 gangs…of citizens of Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Central Asian countries."
He said that "major cells" of IS and Hizb ut-Tahrir "were neutralized in Moscow recently."
Bortnikov also said the worsening security situation in Afghanistan presents a growing danger to the countries of Central Asia, saying that IS and the Taliban are joining forces with local "criminal groups" and could "attempt an incursion into Central Asia."
He urged members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to step up cooperation in combatting terrorism and to prioritize the "task of tightening security on the CIS perimeter border."
Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS