Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov.

About 30,000 foreigners fighting for ISIS: Russian Defense Minister

Russia’s Air Forces are striking only confirmed terrorist targets, such as Islamic State militants and are not after the so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels, Russia’s deputy defense minister said, revealing that ISIS employs up to 30,000 foreign extremists.

Since the beginning of the operation that was initiated at President Bashar Assad’s request, Russian air forces have carried out more than 1,600 sorties, killing several hundred terrorists and destroying more than 2,000 objects of infrastructure held by the terrorists. Having suffered substantial losses, IS militants have been withdrawing from the line of contact with the Syrian armed forces.

However, Antonov also drew the attention of his international counterparts to the bigger picture involved in IS’s terrorist activities.

“Today some 25-30 thousand foreign terrorist mercenaries are fighting for ISIL, including those from the Pacific Rim countries and, unfortunately, Russia too. Should they return home, carrying the potential for violence and extremism, they will be preaching radical ideas in our countries or will organize subversive activities,” Antonov said.

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