Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent statement that ISIS militants may start moving to the Balkans after their defeat in Syria, the Interior Minister of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) part, Aljosa Campara, said on Monday that although the chance for this happening is small, caution is still advised.
Speaking at a recent summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an intergovernmental organisation made up of ten post-Soviet republics, Putin said that ISIS militants may move to other areas where they will try to set up their bases after their defeat in Syria, mentioning the Balkans and Southeast Asia as possibilities.
Campara, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Bosnia’s mostly Bosniak-Croat shared semi-autonomous entity, said he does not expect the militants to come to the Balkans.
“I have the feeling that they will more likely move toward Lybia and Afghanistan, that is according to some of the data we have,” he said, adding that authorities will nevertheless “completely and closely monitor the situation.”
He said Bosnia’s intelligence agency, prosecutor’s offices and police forces exchange information about the issue with regional partners.
“So, I think that we have a lot of that data from other international institutions and partner agencies and the possibility that they (ISIS militants) will move to the Balkans is small,” he said.
“I think that this would not be in their interest, as they know what awaits them here, what they could expect when taking into account our legal procedures they will face,” he explained.
The FBiH Minister did not exclude the possibility that ISIS militants may infiltrate the numerous groups of migrants entering the country.
“We have to be aware of the situation,” he said, adding that if authorities do their work properly such possibilities can be foreseen and prevented.
“But over there (Turkey and Syria) the situation keeps changing daily so it is very difficult to talk about exact data,” he stressed.
Campara pointed out that Bosnian ISIS fighters were returning to the country back in 2014 and 2015.
“After that, we had no such movements and returns of ISIS fighters to the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said, but added that “everything is possible.”