More than 2,000 militants who traveled from Russia to join Islamic State were killed by Russian armed forces operating in Syria, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, the Dozhd news agency reported Friday.

The targeted terrorists, with 17 warlords among them, were promulgating radical Islam and plotting to bring jihad to Russia, Shoigu said.

With help from the Russian air force, Syrian troops managed to clear more than 12,000 square kilometers and 150 towns from islamist militants. A total of 586 settlements were liberated, which allowed more than 264,000 refugees to return to their homes, Shoigu said.

According to the defense minister, more military conflicts are likely to erupt in near future, given the current development of events, the Interfax news agency reported.

Crisis situations similar to the one in Syria might be provoked in Central Asia, and Russia “will be forced to adequately respond to potential threats,” Shoigu was quoted as saying by Interfax.