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Interior minister: Russian strike may force further Syrians to flee

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Prague, Sept 30 (CTK) – The Russian strike in Syria may escalate the situation in the country and force further Syrians to flee abroad, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) said yesterday.
On the contrary, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) said the Russian intervention might make the fighting less widespread and lead to a marked lowering of the number of refugees.
Russia confirmed yesterday that it launched air strikes against the Islamic State militant group in Syria.
Stropnicky said it seemed reasonable to welcome anything that may calm down the situation in Syria.
“However, I don’t want to speculate about the price for the Russian help. Some price would certainly be paid,” he said.
Chovanec said he felt “rather terrified by the Russian air strikes,” although he can understand the Czech military’s point of view.
He said 7.5 million people in Syria left their homes and were still considering whether to flee the country or not. He expressed concern that these people would try to get to Europe.
The Russian strike may lead to another migration wave, Chovanec said.
“The key for migration are Turkey and Libya. Unless these two issues are resolved, another migration wave may hit Europe in the spring,” he said.
Chovanec said Russia was also involved in the fighting in Ukraine, from where a refugee wave might come if the situation worsened.
A refugee wave from Ukraine would be even more serious for the Czech Republic than the Syrian wave, he added.

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