Third Batch Of Syrian Rebels Prepares For Deployment To Azerbaijan - Sources
Muhammad Irfan Published October 01, 2020 | 11:45 PM
A third batch of Syrian rebels is preparing for deployment to Azerbaijan from Turkey, while another two are already on the ground, sources from the Syrian opposition told Sputnik
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 01st October, 2020) A third batch of Syrian rebels is preparing for deployment to Azerbaijan from Turkey, while another two are already on the ground, sources from the Syrian opposition told Sputnik.
On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Moscow was concerned about reports on the transfer of militants of illegal armed groups to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. Presidents of Russia, France and the United States Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump, respectively on Thursday issued a joint statement on the Karabakh conflict, in which they condemned the recent escalation. Macron subsequently said France had credible information about Syrian militants being deployed to the site of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"Turkey has shipped mercenaries from Istanbul airport to Azerbaijan two days ago. Those mercenaries were supposed to be taken to Libya," one opposition source familiar with the situation told Sputnik.
According to the source, 322 Syrian mercenaries are currently present in Azerbaijan and they are well-equipped.
"They are from Sultan Shah and Hamzat groups. Those groups are responsible for providing Turkey with fighters," the source added.
Sultan Shah is part of the Syrian Turkmen Brigades, an informal armed opposition group closely allied with Turkey and fighting in Syria on the opposition side. Hamzat is a Syrian rebel group affiliated with the opposition's Free Syrian Army.
According to another opposition source who talked to Sputnik, Ankara sent earlier "two batches of Syrian militants to the Nagorno-Karabakh region to participate in the fighting on Azerbaijan's side.
"The first group included 40 fighters, and the second 90," the sources said.
The second source added that Turkey is now preparing to send the third batch of Syrian fighters to Nagorno-Karabakh, and the names of combatants who want to go to the region "are now being registered and collected."
The second source also said that the mercenaries come from the rebel Hamzat Division, the Sultan Murad Division, the Syrian-Turkmen Samarkand brigade and the Elite Army rebel group.
Earlier in the week, the Armenian side stated that militants from Turkey and the Middle East were acting on the side of Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. These accusations were denied by Baku and there has been no further confirmation.
Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad has also argued, in an interview with Sputnik, that Ankara is the driving force behind the current conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Commenting on Russia's concern about the involvement of militants in the conflict, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva said that Armenia "makes extensive use of such resources" and is "especially actively attracting terrorists and mercenaries from the Middle East."
Omer Celik, a spokesman for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party has denied the reports about the alleged recruitment of mercenaries for fighting in Azerbaijan as "propaganda."