An anti-terrorist operation conducted in Stavropol (Stavropol Krai) left several suspected terrorists dead on Wednesday, December 19. The suspects reportedly maintained ties to the Islamic State (IS) group. A heightened security presence is anticipated in the area in the near term. Further operations by Russian security forces cannot be ruled out.
Stavropol is located within Russia's North Caucasus region, which also includes the restive Muslim-majority regions of Ingushetia, Chechnya, and Kabardino-Balkaria. Islamist militants and criminal groups in the region have been known to target Russian military personnel, local officials, and moderate Muslims. Chechnya, in particular, has been the site of a decades-long conflict between Moscow and separatist and religious radical groups; a large number of people from Chechnya have reportedly joined IS.
Individuals in the North Caucasus are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities. As a reminder, some Western governments advise against nonessential travel to parts of the North Caucasus region.