MOSCOW, September 26 (RIA Novosti) - Up to 50,000 militants are currently fighting within the ranks of Islamic State (IS) terrorist groups, and this number is growing as extremists from a number of states including the CIS are joining them, Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev said Friday.
"The Islamic State radical movement currently controlling some parts of Iraq and Syria is growing stronger. Their numbers, according to preliminary data, range from 30,000 to 50,000 and they are able to undermine international security," Patrushev said, adding that supporters of radical Islam from Europe, the United States and the CIS continue to join the group and that the militants are characterized by high skill levels and cruelty in particular.
According to Patrushev, the prospects of IS militants and members of the other terrorist groups coming back to the CIS to "continue their extremist activities" is a separate problem the Russian Security Council and CIS members will need to combat with elaborate joint countermeasures
"This creates a threat to security across the CIS," Patrushev noted.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting against Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
Earlier in September, US President Barack Obama unveiled his strategy for defeating the IS, which includes the establishment of an international anti-IS coalition. Since then Washington has carried out a number of airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq and Syria. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have reportedly taken part in the most recent attacks.