Terrorists defeated in Syria and Iraq are heading towards Afghanistan, North Africa, Asia-Pacific and other regions, according to Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev.
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Speaking at a meeting in Brasilia at BRICS summit overseeing security issues, Patrushev emphasised that the threat of creating a terrorist quasi-state structure in the Middle East had been fully neutralized and international terror groups in Syria and Iraq had been largely destroyed.
“However, the militants forced out of these countries’ have been actively deployed to other regions including Afghanistan, North Africa, and also to the Asia-Pacific Region,” Patrushev said.
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The security chief also highlighted that terrorists had been trying to create sleeper cells around the globe.
“Simultaneously, we have seen that the so-called low-budget terrorism and the tactics of guerilla war, including by lone-wolf terrorists, have become more popular. The cases of self-radicalization have been on the rise, including thanks to the information posted on the Internet,” he noted.
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At least 750 people with suspected links to Islamic State have reportedly fled a displacement camp in north-east Syria raising fears that the Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces could lead ISIS to regain strength amid the chaos.
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The news came at the same time the US ordered all 1,000 US troops to withdraw “as safely and quickly as possible” from the region after learning that the Turkish operation was likely to extend further than Ankara’s proposed 20-mile (32km) “safe zone” on the border between the two countries.
The UK-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number to have escaped at 100, publishing pictures of men, women in black niqabs and small children running through yellow scrubland.
Operation Peace Spring, as Ankara has named it, commenced after Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops partnered with the SDF from the region last week. The US special forces have long acted as a buffer stopping the SDF and Turkey from clashing.