Russia's Putin worries Syria violence may reach ex-Soviet bloc

By REUTERS
September 23, 2013 16:26

OCHI, Russia - Russian President Vladimir Putin warned ex-Soviet allies on Monday that Islamist militancy fueling the war in Syria could reach their countries, some of which have Muslim majorities.

Russia, which has a large Muslim minority of its own and is fighting an Islamist insurgency, has accused the West of helping militants by seeking Syrian President Bashar Assad's removal without paying enough attention to the potential consequences.

Putin told leaders of the six-nation Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that militants fighting Assad could eventually expand attacks beyond Syria and the Middle East.

"The militant groups (in Syria) did not come out of nowhere, and they will not vanish into thin air," Putin said.

"The problem of terrorism spilling from one country to another is absolutely real and could directly affect the interests of any one of our countries," he said, citing the deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi as an example.


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