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Military intelligence publishes list of Syrians recruited by Russia to fight in Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 14, 2024 12:41 PM 2 min read
A Ukrainian infantryman runs towards the trenches on the front line, in the Kreminna forest, Luhansk Oblast, on Jan. 31, 2024. (Ignacio Marin/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's military intelligence agency published a list on Feb. 14 of over 100 Syrian nationals who have been recruited by Russia to fight against Ukraine.

The agency reported on Feb. 7 that Russia was training a group of 1,000 Syrian mercenaries near Aleppo with a focus on  "conducting combat operations in urban areas."

After training, the foreign fighters are sent to Russia, given Russian passports, and mobilized into the Russian army, according to the agency.  

The agency said that Russia also recruits Syrian men by promising jobs as security guards at oil refineries in Russia's Far East, and then are told that there are opportunities for a "higher-paying job" in Buryatia, where they are mobilized.

The list of Syrian nationals published by the agency includes 141 names, the youngest born in 2001, and the oldest born in 1973.

The recruitment of Syrians demonstrates the deterioration of morale among Russian forces and the need to replenish personnel due to the use of "human wave" attacks, the agency said.

Ukrainian forces regularly report that Russia uses "human wave" attacks, where masses of poorly trained soldiers are sent onto the battlefield without proper equipment or training.

As Russian casualties in Ukraine mount, Russia is increasingly recruiting foreign fighters from impoverished countries. CNN reported on Feb. 11 that the Russian army recruited 15,000 Nepalis to fight in Ukraine.

Nepal urged the Russian government to stop recruiting Nepalese citizens into its army in December after at least six of its nationals were confirmed killed. The authorities then uncovered a domestic smuggling ring that recruited youths as foreign fighters for the Russian military.

Bloomberg: Russian government forming its own mercenary group in Africa
With much of Wagner’s network and business interests still in place in Africa, the Russian government has sought to capitalize on existing relationships with countries in the Sahel.
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