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'Thousands' from ex-Soviet with IS

October 16, 2015 6:18 pm

Vladimir Putin has said that 5,000 to 7,000 people from Russia and other former Soviet states are fighting for so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

The Russian leader told a regional forum that the IS fighters would pose a serious risk if they returned home.

Mr Putin also warned on Friday that violence in Afghanistan could spread to Central Asia.

The situation in Afghanistan was “close to critical” and Central Asian states should be “ready to react”, he said.

“Terrorists of different stripes are gaining more influence and do not hide their plans for further expansion,” Mr Putin told the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) meeting in Kazakhstan.

Leaders at the summit of former Soviet Union states have agreed to create a joint task force to defend their bloc in the event of a crisis.