BAKU, Azerbaijan, Mar. 7
Russia is recruiting Syrians for urban combat in Ukraine, US data said, Trend reports citing the Wall Street Journal.
Russia, which has been operating inside Syria since 2015, has in recent days been recruiting fighters from there, hoping their expertise in urban combat can help take Kyiv and deal a devastating blow to the Ukrainian government, according to the US.
As for American officials, the move points to a potential escalation of fighting in Ukraine.
As stated, it is unclear how many fighters have been identified, but some are already in Russia preparing to enter the conflict. The article said that other data on the deployment of Syrian fighters to Ukraine is unknown.
The Wall Street Journal noted that Russia had offered volunteers from the country between $200 and $300 “to go to Ukraine and operate as guards” for six months at a time.
In turn, according to a Reuters report citing Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic, Chechen forces have also been deployed to Ukraine.
The article also noted that the militants are also pouring into the country to fight on the side of the Kyiv-based government. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 16,000 foreigners have volunteered to fight for Ukraine, part of what he described as an "international legion".
With volunteers from other countries flowing into Ukraine, the conflict there could become a new center of gravity for foreign fighters, said Jennifer Cafarella, a national security fellow at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C.
“The Russia deployment of foreign fighters from Syria into Ukraine internationalizes the Ukraine war, and therefore could link the war in Ukraine to broader cross-regional dynamics, particularly in the Middle East,” she said.