The issue of mercenaries is still strongly present in the press, research centers and studies, after the recruitment operations carried out by Turkey and Russia to send Syrian fighters to Libya.
In an exciting report, the organizations “Syrian Justice and Accountability Center” and “Syrians for Truth and Justice” revealed, in a study, the path of economic exploitation to recruit Syrian mercenaries through networks of brokers and armed groups.
The study showed that the Syrian mercenaries who participated in battles, whether in Libya or Nagorno-Karabakh, were subjected to deception and theft, and many of them did not get any money, while others died without their families getting what they were promised in the event of the death of their children, saying they were exploited for the sake of fighting as mercenaries in Libya and in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Regarding Turkey, the study indicated that Ankara’s policy relied mainly on the fighters of its loyal factions in north and northwest Syria, to support the Government of National Accord in Libya at the time, and to support the Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh with a significant number of them, while Russia recruited former elements of the Syrian army to support the Libyan National Army.
According to the study, “The main form this exploitation has taken is the systematic theft of wages, whereby individual fighters have been regularly defrauded by senior figures in the Syrian National Army, in which the pro-Ankara factions are affiliated, and this has emerged in Libya where salary theft has spread after the battles ceased in there.”
On the other hand, the Executive Director of “Syrians for Truth and Justice” Bassam Al-Ahmad called on the international community to “hold the countries, companies and armed groups most responsible for recruiting mercenaries accountable.”
Regarding wages, the report documented “wage theft” despite “the flow of Turkish funding,” and a broker was quoted as saying that Turkey offered monthly salaries of $3000 and compensation of $75.000 for families in the event of the death of the fighter, but “armed groups always violate the offers and give the fighters salaries ranging from 800 to 1400 dollars.
The issue wasn’t only with Turkey. Russia also resorted to “deception” to recruit fighters, and brokers, including tribal elders, offered salaries ranging from $1000 to $2000 without compensation in the event of death.
The report quoted a captain in one of the Moscow-backed groups as saying that those who were recruited to Libya and then sent to Armenia “were not fully informed of the details of the operation.”