Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said reports of mercenaries from the Middle East fighting in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh are “a serious concern."
“According to reports, foreign terrorist fighters are being shipped from the Middle East to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. This is a cause for serious concern,” Zakharova said during her weekly press briefing on Nov 5.
? #Zakharova: According to reports, foreign terrorist fighters are being shipped from the #MiddleEast to the #NagornoKarabakh conflict zone. This is a cause for serious concern. #Armenia #Azerbaijan pic.twitter.com/2VK4k1nNhI— MFA Russia ?? (@mfa_russia) November 5, 2020
“We are speaking about radical mercenaries. They are worshiping jihadism ideology. All this cannot but raise our concern as in perspective such development poses the risk of creation of new terrorist enclave this time in the South Caucasus,” Zakharova was quoted as saying by various Russian media outlets.Russia tells Turkey its concerns about reports on Syrian rebels sent to Nagorno-Karabakh
According to several reports, hundreds of fighters from Syrian militias allied with Turkey have joined the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied the presence of Syrians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and instead accused Armenia of deploying Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish militants to the area.
At least 1,000 people, and possibly many more, have been killed since fighting broke out on Sept. 27 in Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians.
The worst fighting in more than 25 years has underlined the influence of Turkey in the South Caucasus, a region that was once part of the Soviet Union and long dominated by Moscow, which has a defense pact with Armenia.
Negotiations have for decades been led by Russia, France and the United States in their roles as co-chairs of a panel known as the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a security and rights watchdog.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would continue working with Turkey to stop the military confrontation in Nagorno-Karabakh from escalating.
In an interview with Russian daily Kommersant on Nov. 3, Lavrov also estimated around 2,000 mercenaries from the Middle East were fighting and called on “external players” to halt their arrival.HDP deputy asks Defense Minister Akar if Turkey has been sending Syrian fighters to Nagorno-Karabakh