Russia warns against training Syrian rebels in Kosovo


Moscow : Russia has urged international bodies operating in Kosovo to prevent the region from turning into a training ground for Syrian rebels, RIA Novosti reported.

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A delegation from the Syrian opposition visited Kosovo in April to allegedly make a deal on exchanging experience in guerilla warfare against ruling authorities.

So far, the opposition has been unable to form a steady front against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the talks in Kosovo by the Syrian opposition covered not only the ways of organising armed resistance against authorities but also the training of Syrian militants in Kosovo.

“There are plans to use the areas (in Kosovo) that resemble the terrain in Syria. The possibility of setting up training camps at the former bases of the Kosovo Liberation Army is also being discussed,” the ministry statement said.

“Transforming Kosovo into an international training ground for armed militants may become a serious destabilizing factor that could extend beyond the Balkans. We urge international bodies operating in Kosovo to take all necessary steps to prevent these plans,” it said.

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) fought a separatist war against the regime of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in 1998-99. About 10,000 people died in the Kosovo conflict. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008.

However, both Serbia and Russia have refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence.