Deputy Prime Minister of Syria Walid al Moualem, who is currently visiting India, on Wednesday said that four Indian nationals were held in Damascus for trying to join the Islamic State militant group. The four reportedly fled India recently, and entered Syria through Jordan. Indian officials say around 23 Indians are fighting with the IS, and six have died with the group, The Indian Express reported.

Moualem, who is also Syria’s Foreign Minister, met with External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and said that their meeting was productive. The leaders discussed terrorism and the Syrian crisis, Moualem also criticised Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United States, France and Qatar for supporting terrorist organisations. Moualem added that Russia, who began air strikes on areas in Syria, has helped the crisis more in three months than the US did in 18 months.

The minister said Syria would like India’s support in their efforts to find a resolution to the crisis, but expressed that they needed food and medicines more than military intervention in the region. This was the first visit to India from a senior minister in the Syrian government since 2008.