YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Russia possesses precise data about terrorist fighters from the Middle East involved in the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, the country’s top intelligence official has said.
In an interview with RIA Novosti conducted by Russia Today news agency director-general Dmitry Kiselyov this week, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin also said that Moscow sees “separate elements of Turkish intelligence work” in the conflict zone.
Since the outbreak of hostilities in late September Armenia has insisted that Islamist mercenaries from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East have been recruited by Turkey to fight on Azerbaijan’s side against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Late Karabakh forces claimed they had captured at least two Syrian fighters in the battlefield. They showed videos of interrogations of the two men who admit they had been recruited by Turkey to fight for Azerbaijan.
Yerevan also claims that Turkish forces are directly helping Azerbaijan fight the war.
Azerbaijan and Turkey deny deploying any mercenaries in the conflict zone. Azerbaijan also insists that Turkey’s role in the conflict is limited to political and moral support only.
According to Naryshkin, Russia got its information about the presence of terrorist fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh from various sources in the Middle East and elsewhere in the region.
“We have been receiving these data from a number of countries, from different sources and from our different partners, partner services in the Middle East,” he said.
At a news briefing on November 5, spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova expressed Moscow’s lingering concerns about the deployment of jihadist fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh, saying that “it is fraught with the emergence of a new terrorist enclave in the South Caucasus.”