More than 40,000 Syrians enlist to fight for Russia, human rights group says

( Russia doesn’t have many allies in its war in Ukraine, but they are now enlisting fighters from Syria, some of whom are members of terrorist organizations.

On Monday, a report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a non-profit group, said that at least 40,000 Syrians have signed up to fight on the Russian side in the war against Ukraine thus far. Some of these fighters are even members of the Al-Qatarji militia.

The agency, which focuses on human rights, says that none of these fighters has yet been deployed to the war fronts in Ukraine. That’s despite a report by one agency in Ukraine that claimed the fighters were already in their country.

Russia has been on the side of Syrian President Bashar Assad for a while now. In 2015, the Communist country entered the civil war that has been raging on in Syria for more than 10 years. This apparently seems to be a payback of sorts for that help.

SOHR’s report said that Russia has set up accommodations and training centers for the Syrian troops along the Russian and Belarussian border with Ukraine. At this point, it’s uncertain how much the fighters are going to be paid to fight over in Ukraine.

In the past, Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, said any fighters who came from Syria to help them in their invasion of Ukraine would not be paid for their duty. As he said previously:

“If you see that there are these people who want of their own accord, not for money, to come to help the people living in Donbas, then we need to give them what they want and help them get to the conflict zones.”

That reporting, and subsequent reporting, was done by The Guardian. Recently, the media outlet reported that it found notices that said that troops from Syria who decided to fight for Russia would end up being paid $3,000 each month for their services, depending on their past fighting experience.

According to The Guardian, that sum would be roughly 50 times what the Syrian soldiers were earn fighting for their own country. In other words, it would be really hard for people to turn down this financial opportunity to fight for Russia.

Members of SOHR said Russia told the Syrian fighters that they would be paid 1,000 Euros (or about $1,100) for their services, but the group also noted that “this is still a mere statement.”

What’s more, the Al-Qatarji militia issued a notice to their own members that would allow them to leave and go fight for Russia. Countries across the globe have sanctioned the militia groups in the past for making deals with both the Islamic State and the Syrian government.

As SOHR noted in its report this week:

“It is worth noting that it has been a high turnout of young men to register their names, to escape poverty and poor living conditions in regime-held areas.”