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Ukraine: Syrian mercenaries are now in Russia

March 18, 2022 at 2:20 pm

A view of a checkpoint at the western entrance of Kyiv, Ukraine as Russian attacks continue on March 14, 2022 [Andre Luis Alves – Anadolu Agency]

Ukrainian intelligence yesterday announced that a large number of “Syrian mercenaries” arrived in Russia to fight alongside the Russian army.

Ukrainian intelligence stated that 150 Syrian mercenaries had been transferred from the Hmeimim Air Base to Russia on Tuesday, noting that Moscow is planning to transfer weapons and military equipment from Syria to Russia and Belarus to use in the war against Ukraine.

On 11 March, the Russian Presidency announced that it had “opened the doors for volunteering to fight alongside Russia against Ukraine.” Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow had received a large number of applications from various countries, noting that most of the applications were from the Middle East.

Last Tuesday, the Ukrainian army general staff revealed that Russian forces had opened two centres near the Ukrainian borders with Russia and Belarus to train mercenaries from Syria.

READ: Russia drafting thousands from Syria to fight in Ukraine

Sources said about 400 volunteers have already arrived in Russia, and that Russia has recruited more than 1,000 people over the last few days.

Syrian sources have, however, warned that President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime has registered the names of fighters who wish to participate in the war in Ukraine, promising to pay them generously, in conjunction with Russian propaganda campaigns.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced recently that nearly 40,000 mercenaries had been signed up from the regime’s various military formations.