On March 11, our journalist Hélène Sallon wrote: “Syrian mercenaries will be recruited alongside the Russian army in Ukraine. » According to testimonies collected by Syrian observers, the recruitment campaign had already begun in the provinces under the control of President Bashar Al-Assad. The information had been corroborated, Monday, March 7, by the Pentagon. “We believe there is some truth to reports that the Russians are looking for Syrian fighters to bolster their ranks in Ukraine,” explained its spokesman, John Kirby.
On February 28, the human rights organization Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) collected testimonies confirming an ongoing recruitment campaign in the province of Damascus. “Recruitment is done by private security groups like Wagner and Syrian security services. It is done through the branches of the Ba’ath Party, the National Defense Forces and other local militias. But there must be an order from Russia,” explains Bassam Al-Ahmad, director of STJ. The recruits are, according to him, former soldiers of the Syrian army or former insurgents who have been granted amnesty by the regime within the framework of the reconciliation committees, like the members of the 5and Assault Corps of Deraa (South), a local militia made up of former insurgents and supported by the Russians, already present on the Libyan front.
A Syrian recently demobilized from the ranks of the Syrian army testified to STJ that he had been informed by the local head of a reconciliation committee that an assistant surgeon in the army’s intelligence branch Harasta air force (Damascus province) drew up a list of fighters ready to leave for Ukraine, on behalf of a private Russian security company. “He told me that they only register fighters with good military experience and that priority goes to people who had previously fought under the command of Russian officers or in the ranks of the 25and division of the Syrian army, said the Syrian.