11 Oct 2019 14:38

Putin doubts Turkey capable of controlling escape of ISIL fighters from northern Syria

ASHGABAT. Oct 11 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is not sure that Turkey can control the situation if captured fighters of ISIL (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) start running into other territories.

"ISIL fighters are concentrated in certain zones of northern Syria. They have been guarded by the Kurdish militia until recently. Now the Turkish army is entering the area, and the Kurds are leaving these camps. They [the captives] may flee," Putin said at the CIS summit in Ashgabat on Friday.

"I am not sure the Turkish army can rapidly take control," Putin said.

According to the Russian General Staff's Main Intelligence Directorate, there are hundreds of terrorist fighters in those areas and "thousands of them, if we speak about CIS countries," he said.

"We have to understand and know that and mobilize our security services to contain this new emerging threat," Putin said.

Many militants are trying to create new strongholds in other regions, he said.

"Having suffered a defeat in Syria, many fighters are migrating to other regions, such as the Balkans, Southeast Asia and, regretfully, the southern borders of the Commonwealth [of Independent States], where they try to create new strongholds," Putin said. The Kremlin website published a transcript of his speech.

According to Putin, the summit will approve a program of cooperation in the suppression of terrorism and other violent manifestations of extremism for the next three years.

"We think this is very important and can help mobilize our joint efforts towards fighting the threat," Putin said.