The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has warned that dangerous non-state actors now possess the capability of equipping drones with chemical weapons and biological weapons in order to maximize mass casualty events.
Speaking at a major conference hosting the security agencies of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on Tuesday, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov highlighted the ever growing sophisticated and high-tech arsenal of global terrorists, including that “The criminals have materials, technology and infrastructure for the production of chemical weapons and biotoxins,” according to one Russian English language report.
Israeli drone filmed dropping Tear Gas on Gaza protesters on March 30, 2018.
He specifically highlighted the jihadist threat from the war-torn Middle East in places like Syria and Iraq, where Russia intervened starting in 2015 at the request of Damascus. “Although international terrorist organizations suffered great losses in Syria and Iraq, they still have enough resources, particularly provided by their foreign sponsors, to carry out attacks around the world,” Bortnikov said, according to TASS.
The longtime FSB chief said further that, “large jihadist units have been defeated but now they are trying either to regroup in areas not controlled by the Syrian government or to take shelter in refugee camps.”
He also sounded an alarm which has now for years been a familiar worry for Europe – the return of foreign fighters who had previously traveled illegally to Europe. “We know about intentions of the leaders of international terrorist organisations to use widows, wives and children of militants who come back en mass,” he said.
Among ISIS’ top military leadership, for example, are Russian and Chechen jihadists from Muslim populations along Russia’s peripheries.
The FSB chief’s highlighting of the “chemical drone attack” threat was likely in response to repeat drone attacks on Russia’s main Syrian air base, called Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, over the past year. As recently as Monday of this week Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces had repelled yet another drone and missile attack from nearby entrenched Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Nusra Front or al-Qaeda in Syria).
Recent international reports have highlighted ISIS’ capabilities for deploying weaponized Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).