PANAGYURISHTE, ($1=1.79 Bulgarian Levs) — At a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation on March 11, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East were ready to be sent to Ukraine. This must be Russia’s response to the alleged “sending mercenaries to Ukraine”, where 20,000 volunteers from around the world have reportedly already registered.
Earlier, US officials and Syrian opposition journalists claimed that Russia was recruiting Syrians with experience in urban battles to be sent to Ukraine.
Russia’s Zvezda TV channel says veterans of military operations in Syria are now ready to go to Ukraine. The video we share with this article is from Syrian veterans who shout in one voice, “Great Russian army! We will defeat the Nazis!” The video shows the Syrian military undermining the same letters that the Russian military uses to mark its equipment in Ukraine.
In addition, Central African military analyst Sylvain Nguema posted a video in which armed men [we cannot confirm their affiliation with the official army of the Central African Republic declare their readiness to help the Russians against Ukrainian nationalists. It is worth noting here that journalist Jack Losch said that the Wagners [mercenaries from the Russian private military company Wagner] had already recruited Syrians and Libyans to serve in the Central African Republic [CAR].
There are probably Syrians and Central Africans who are sincerely grateful to the Russian army and/or the Wagner PMC for intervening in support of the current government, despite the war crimes committed in the process. However, this is most reminiscent of the use of Syrian mercenaries from Turkey to protect its interests in Libya and Azerbaijan [where there is much to be desired about their fighting qualities]. Going deeper into history, we can recall the use of colonial troops in Europe by France and Britain during the two world wars.
In any case, it can be argued that there are hardly enough fighters in Syria and the Central African Republic with real experience in urban battles. The incompetence of the Syrian army during the civil war has long been the subject of memes. All significant victories [the conquest of Palmyra, Aleppo, and the suburbs of Damascus] became possible only after many years of siege and thanks to the actions of Russian aviation and Iranian militias. The Central African Republic’s armed forces have also regained control of much of the country, thanks in large part to Wagner’s participation in the battles.
It is worth noting that the opponents in both cases were disorganized and poorly trained rebels. The offensive of Assad’s supporters stopped after Turkish troops entered the northern part of the country. Pro-Turkish forces in Syria’s border areas and radical Islamists in Idlib province still pose a threat to President Assad’s regime.
As Russian influence dwindles and Russian forces become increasingly involved in the Ukrainian conflict, opponents of Damascus may be tempted to test the enemy’s strength. Such a desire may have already arisen in Azerbaijan amid the deployment of some Russian peacekeepers from Karabakh to Ukraine.
BulgarianMilitary.com will continue to monitor the situation. We will try to trace all the sources that would help shed light on the preparations and course of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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