Foreign powers that intervened in Syria to advance their interests are now exploiting Syria's economic ruin to recruit men to fight their battles abroad  my new piece @NYRDaily based on multiple interviews with Syrian mercenaries in Azerbaijan & Libya
"Abdel Basit" was nearly killed today while fighting Nagorno Karabakh. 11 Syrians, members of his unit, were killed, and about 40 injured in one Armenian strike.
Modern-day mercenaries are commonly retired fighters from elite units. Not Syrians. They're cannon fodder.
~150 additional Syrian mercenaries, recruited by @abo33amsha, the commander of the Turkish-backed Sultan Sliman Shah Division, were deployed to Azerbaijan 11 days ago. The fighters were lied to & told they'll be going to Libya, where this faction is also deployed.
Only after departing Syria, the fighters learned they'll be taken to Azerbaijan instead, to where some did not wish to deploy due to high casualty rate among Syrians (while fighting in Libya has paused). According to one of the fighters deployed, many in their ranks are minors.
I've documented the recruitment and deployment of child soldiers in the ranks of Turkish-backed factions (incl specifically Sultan Sliman Shah) in Syria & Libya. It is disturbing to hear that Syrian minors are also being taken to fight in Azerbaijan.
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