A leaked Russian security services document reveals that ISIS-linked Syrians entered Thailand to “attack Russian interests” in retaliation for Russian involvement in the Syrian war. The document suggests that ISIS entered Thailand in October with the intent to “stage attacks” against the Russian government and interests the country has in Thailand. At least 10 individuals with ISIS ties were said to have entered Thailand for the purpose of launching a series of attack on Russia.
CNN reports that ISIS is in Thailand and that the Islamic State supporting Syrians entered the country as a means to attack Russian interests in the region. A leaked memo shows Thai police discussing ISIS in Thailand and quotes Russian intelligence in the memo. The memo was marked “urgent” by the Thai officials and noted that 10 people with links to the Islamic State had entered Thailand in a bid to attack “Russian interests.”
— ST Foreign Desk (@STForeignDesk) December 4, 2015
Though the ISIS-backing Syrians allegedly entered Thailand in October, the Thai police memo was dated November 27, 2015. The memo noted that the ten individuals entered the country within a two-week span and that each of them dispersed across the country to different locations. The ISIS terrorists were not named in the document, but it was noted that two of the individuals allegedly stayed in the Thailand capital of Bangkok, whereas the four other individuals allegedly dispersed to Pattaya, a city located 90 miles south of Bangkok, and to Phuket, which is 520 miles southwest of Bangkok.
According to the Guardian, the Thailand police force responded to the Russian security threat by noting they would ramp up security in “target areas that Russian authorities are concerned about.” Those specific target areas were not named, but it was noted that in addition to Russian interests, other venues associated with Russian allies would also see an increase in security.
A police official that wished to remain unnamed told the Guardian that the document was real and that the threat was being taken seriously.
“The document is real. We received it from special branch. The original communication was by word of mouth between Russian and Thai police. I don’t know how the document leaked.”
Though it was deemed “real” by some police officials, National Security Council chief General Thawip Netniyom claims that the Thai government is still trying to determine if the specific individuals even came into the country and noted that the authorities have not found any unusual movement as of yet. He adds that travel to the area is still safe.
“We’re still trying to work out whether they even came in. We have yet to find any unusual movement. Everything is safe, rest assured.”
In addition to the six new ISIS supporters who allegedly entered Thailand, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that there is definitely a jihadi presence in the region, noting that between 700 to 1,000 foreign jihadi fighters are in the region. The UNODC says the link between Syria and Asia is strong. The UN officials went on to call Thailand one of Russia’s biggest concerns as it is “top on the list” as a “global vulnerability.”
“Post-Sinai, Russian intelligence is going to be asking ‘Where globally are our vulnerabilities?’ Thailand is going to be right at the top of their list.”
Bangkok is not new to terrorist threats. A bombing in Bangkok in August left 20 people dead, making it the deadliest peacetime bombing in the country’s long history.
What do you think about the potential of ISIS in Thailand? Is Thailand a prime candidate for ISIS infiltration due to its location and close proximity to Malaysia’s large Muslim community?
[Image via AP Photo]