Baltic states join fight against Islamic state in Iraq, Syria

  • 2014-09-22
  • From wire reports, RIGA

The Baltic states have joined a U.S. led coalition in the fight against extremist group Islamic State (IS).

The extremist group, known for taking large areas of Syria and northern Iraq as well as the mass murder of thousands of civilians. 

Latvia's foreign ministry said it would collaborate with other countries to fight against the group 

"After evaluating the events of the past few weeks in Iraq and Syria, Latvia believes that the terrorist organization is a serious threat to Middle East security, as well as threat against its allies and partners in the entire world, including Latvia," Karlis Eihenbaums, a spokesman for Latvia's foreign ministry said.

"About forty countries, including the Baltic states, have expressed readiness to provide support to the international coalition. Latvia expresses its strongest support to the United States' initiative to join the fight against IS," 

"At the same time, Latvia will secure all the necessary national measures in order to eliminate recruiting of foreign militants in Latvia, involvement of Latvian citizens in military conflicts abroad, and other support measures to terrorists," Eihenbaums indicated.

Eihenbaums added that Latvia was ready to provide the region with humanitarian aid in the future and said there were no Latvian nationals fighting for the extremist group. 

Latvia's Foreign Ministry strongly recommends tourists stay clear of Syria and urges tourists in Syria to return to their home countries. The ministry also urges avoiding Iraq, and strongly recommends any person who goes abroad to acquire a life and health insurance policy, which stipulates repatriation of a person in case of illness or death.