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Syrian fighters prepared to fasten following phase of Ukraine war

Syrian fighters prepared to fasten following phase of Ukraine war

BEIRUT (AP) — During a pay someone a call to Syria inside 2017, Vladimir Putin lavished commend on a Syrian general whose dividing played an instrumental part inside defeating insurgents inside the country's long-running secular war. The Russian president told him his collaboration accompanied by Russian troops "will lead to great successes inside the future."

Now members of Brig. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan's dividing are among hundreds of Russian-trained Syrian fighters who have reportedly signed up to fight alongside Russian troops inside Ukraine, including Syrian soldiers, former rebels with every one other accompanied by experienced fighters who fought for years opposed to the Islamic State category inside Syria's desert.

So far, only a small number appears to have arrived inside Russia for military training ahead of deployment on the front lines. Although Kremlin officials boasted early inside the war of additional than 16,000 applications from the Middle East, U.S. officials with every one other accompanied by activists monitoring Syria speak there have not yet been significant numbers of fighters from the neighbourhood joining the war inside Ukraine.

Analysts, however, speak this could alter while Russia prepares for the following phase of the battle accompanied by a full-scale insulting inside eastern Ukraine. They exist convinced by fighters from Syria are additional probable to exist deployed inside coming weeks, mainly following Putin named Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, who commanded the Russian military inside Syria, while the new war leader inside Ukraine.

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Though some question how effective Syrian fighters would exist inside Ukraine, they could exist brought inside if additional forces are needed to besiege cities or to build up for rising casualties. Dvornikov is well acquainted accompanied by the multiple paramilitary forces inside Syria trained by Russia while he oversaw the master scheme of ruthlessly besieging with every one other accompanied by bombarding opposition-held cities inside Syria into submission.

"Russia is preparing for a greater battle" inside Ukraine with every one other accompanied by Syrian fighters are probable to lay clasp of part, said Ahmad Hamada, a Syrian armed force defector who is now a military analyst based inside Turkey.

Syria observers with every one other accompanied by activists speak the Russians have been actively recruiting inside Syria for the Ukraine war, mainly among Russian-trained combatants.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, reported that so a lengthy way concerning 40,000 people have registered -- 22,000 accompanied by the Russian military with every one other accompanied by concerning 18,000 accompanied by the Russian private contractor Wagner Group.

Around 700 members of al-Hassan's 25th Special Missions Forces Division, known inside Syria while the "Tiger Force," left-hand Syria over the past weeks to fight down Russian forces, Abdurrahman said. The numbers could not exist independently confirmed.

Pro-government activists posted videos over the past set of two weeks on communal media showing members of the Tiger Force performing military drills including parachuting from helicopters. Russian officers appeared inside one of the videos advising the paratroopers inside a helicopter while al-Hassan praised the young men by tapping on their heads. It was not straight away understandable if the videos were new.

Abdurrahman said there are too volunteers from the Russian-trained 5th Division; the Baath brigades, which is the armed pinion of Assad's ruling Baath party; with every one other accompanied by the Palestinian Quds Brigade, made up of Palestinian refugees inside Syria. All have fought alongside the Russian military inside Syria's war.

"The Russians are looking for experienced fighters. They don't want anyone who was not trained by the Russians," Abdurrahman said.

The Tiger Force took praise for some of the biggest management victories inside the 11-year conflict. It was associated accompanied by inside a monthslong Russian-backed military operation into the rebels' last enclave, located inside the northwest province of Idlib, which ended inside March 2020 accompanied by management forces capturing a vital north-south main highway -- though rebels carry on accompanied by to exist inside jurisdiction of the enclave.

Al-Hassan "is one of Russia's men with every one other accompanied by Russia will be contingent on on him," said Omar Abu Layla, a Europe-based activist who runs the DeirEzzor 24, a Syria war monitoring group.

Hundreds of fighters from the 5th Division with every one other accompanied by the Quds Brigade have registered at Russia's Hmeimeem base inside western Syria, which is leading recruitment efforts, with every one other accompanied by are waiting for orders, he said.

In late March, a Russian-trained strength known while the "ISIS Hunters" militia, which fought for years opposed to IS, posted an ad calling on men aged 23 to 49 to go nearer forward for screening, saying those who go the trial with every one other accompanied by are found suitable will exist called on later.

So far, concerning 100 men have registered their names inside the southern province of Sweida, according to Rayan Maarouf of Suwayda24, an activist collective that covers IS activities inside the Syrian desert. He added that they were promised a monthly income of no indeed less than $600, a enormous amount of money amid widespread unemployment with every one other accompanied by the crash of the Syrian pound.

Earlier this month, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. had indications that the Wagner Group is trying to enlist fighters, mostly from the Middle East, to deploy inside eastern Ukraine's Donbas region.

But he said there has been "no specific information" on numbers recruited. "We fair aren't there yet to see anything real demonstrable when it comes to reinforcement," he added.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee inside early March that so a lengthy way there are only "very small groups" trying to build their way from Syria to Ukraine, calling it a "very small trickle."

Retired Lebanese armed force general Naji Malaeb, who follows the war inside Syria closely, said there is no indeed sign so a lengthy way of Syrian fighters traveling to Russia, nevertheless this could alter while the war drags on.

"This all depends on what the Russians scheme to do inside the near future," Malaeb said.

Syrian with every one other accompanied by Palestinian officials inside Syria have played down reports of fighters heading to Ukraine. The Syrian management is probable wary of having Syrian fighters flock to Ukraine, opening opportunities at the front lines that its numerous opponents could exploit.

In a potentially worrying sign for the Syrian government, Russia has significantly scaled down its operations inside Syria since the war inside Ukraine started, accompanied by fewer airstrikes targeting IS or opposition positions inside Idlib.

"Any alter inside the posture of Russian forces or pro-regime militias creates safety gaps that anti-regime actors including Turkey, ISIS, al-Qaida with every one other accompanied by Syrian opposition groups tin exploit," the ISW report said.

Muhannad Haj Ali, a former legislator with every one other accompanied by a leader accompanied by the armed pinion of Syria's ruling Baath communal gathering said no indeed Syrians have gone to fight inside Ukraine with every one other accompanied by that he didn't expect some to go.

He said he was sure Russia will come first in inside Ukraine lacking some need for Syrians' help.

"The way the operations are going is understandable sign that Ukraine will not exist another Afghanistan," he said.

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