Russia intends to deploy battle-hardened militants from Syria and other Middle Eastern nations to assist in the invasion of Ukraine, according to media reports.
According to the Associated Press, Putin authorized the deployment of 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East alongside Russian forces on March 11.
Despite the fact that Putin’s proclamation does not identify which countries in the Middle East he is recruiting warriors from, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said Moscow was mostly recruiting Syrians who had been bloodied in the country’s decade-long civil war.
Russia has a significant military presence in Syria, having backed the administration of President Bashar Al-Assad with airpower and mercenaries for almost a decade, according to the United Nations.
Reports from the Guardian state that one Russian military enrollment poster has an employment description that includes “military raids, operations overseas, and trips to Ukraine, with all of this information disclosed.” Salary may range from $2,000 to $3,000 per month, based on experience.
The Russian military has paid Ali Jafar Askar, a 35-year-old member of Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, $400 each week in exchange for his participation in what Moscow refers to as a “special operation.”
Known as Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, a Shia-backed paramilitary organisation in Iraq, the group has claimed responsibility for more than 6,000 strikes against American-led coalition troops. According to sources, the State Department labeled it as a terrorist organization in 2020 because of its ties to Iran.
As reported by Nikkei Asia, Russia is actively recruiting fighters “to assist in urban warfare and potentially help with security operations after conventional combat has been largely completed, particularly for counterinsurgency,” according to J.D. Williams, senior international and defense policy researcher at Rand Corporation.
Moreover, according to The Guardian, Russia’s military ministry has said that the deployment would be focused on the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine.
This news comes at a time when Russia is upset and taken aback by the tenacious resistance of the Ukrainian people.
That [Russian President Vladimir Putin] feels he has to depend on foreign soldiers in order to reinforce what is already a large commitment of military strength within Ukraine is remarkable,” the authors write.