The acting ruler of Dagestan has dismissed its government for poor performance in the wake of new reports about local jihadists’ growing role in Syria.
Ramzan Abdulatipov made the announcement Monday, three days after he denounced Dagestani law enforcement agencies for failing to prevent local residents from traveling to fight in Syria, where more than 100,000 people have died since March 2011.
According to Andrei Konin, chief of the regional branch of Russia’s federal security service, approximately 200 Dagestan natives are currently fighting alongside Syrian rebels working to oust President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Konin said most young people travel to Syria to work or study. Once there, however, they join jihadist organizations, he told the Moscow Times
“We supply extremists for the whole of Russia. And now beyond our borders. Extremism is the only ‘product’ that we supply abroad,’ Abdulatipov said Friday.
Abdulipatov said extremism and terror will continue to flourish in Dagestan while society remains indifferent to the dangers and law enforcement and the courts fail to function normally.
He added that local authorities need to take extra care when issuing travel documents to young people, especially those from religious families and individuals who had studied in religious schools abroad.
Dagestan “has become the epicenter of the Caucasus insurgency, with rebels mounting nearly daily attacks on police and other officials,” the Associated Press reported.
Some observers have expressed concern that militants from the Caucasus who joined the Syrian rebels could return and attempt to take revenge against Moscow for supporting Assad by targeting next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, less than 400 miles west of Dagestan.
At least one jihadist leader has called for attacks on Sochi, while Russia has promised to make the 2014 Olympics there “the safest in history.”
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