Ten Syrians “related to” the Islamic State (IS) group entered the country in October to attack Russian interests, Thai police said in a leaked document, citing information from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
Marked “Urgent” and “Confidential” and dated Nov. 27, the Special Branch police said intelligence from Russia warned that the 10 Syrians entered Thailand between Oct. 15 and Oct. 31. The document was circulating on social media late yesterday.
In the document, Special Branch police urged an intensification of security around “target areas that Russian authorities are concerned about” including venues associated with allies that have taken part in attacks on Islamic State in Syria such as United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia.
The document said that two Syrians traveled to Bangkok, two to Phuket, four to Pattaya, and the other two to unknown destinations.
Thailand’s Special Branch, which deals with national security issues, circulated the document to other police units, two senior police officers told Reuters.
“The document is real. We received it from Special Branch,” said one of the police officers, who handles international crime matters. He declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
“I have to deal with this issue now,” he said. “The original communication was by word of mouth between Russian and Thai police. I don’t know how the document leaked.”
Police did not identify the Syrian suspects.
The Thai government and police have previously said that no Thai Muslims have joined Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Thailand’s three southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia are home to a large Muslim community, elements of which have waged an insurgency against the Buddhist-dominated Thai state for over a decade.
Russia began air strikes in Syria on Sept. 30 and has stepped up attacks in recent weeks. An Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for downing a Russian airliner over Egypt in October, killing all 224 people on board.
Story: Reuters/ Coconuts Bangkok
Photo: Khaosod English