Russia Caught Red Handed With Hundreds Of Ground Mercenaries In Syria

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

A recent Sky News investigation reveals Russia is hiring hundreds of private military contractors to fight on the ground in Syria, catching the government in a lie that it only assists Syria from the air.

Russia has repeatedly stressed its military operations are low cost, highly limited, and focused on helping the Assad regime defeat jihadist groups. Sky New’s investigation reveals hundreds of Russian private military contractors are fighting side by side with the Syrian regime. Russia’s use of private military contractors is only the latest lie about its campaign inside Syria.

Independent analyses of Russian airstrikes in Syria reveal they almost exclusively focus on groups that threaten territory valuable to the Syrian regime. Russia also broke several internationally brokered ceasefires in March 2016.

Russia is likely hiding the extent of its intervention in Syria to not inflame domestic tensions. Direct Russian military intervention in the Middle East harkens many Russians back to the Soviet Union’s military intervention in Afghanistan. Thousands of Russians were killed in Afghanistan, and many Russians blame the Afghan war for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia has a history of guising the scope its intervention with “unofficially” affiliated troops in active war zones. In Ukraine, Russia deployed thousands of non-uniformed Russian fighters to fight against the Ukrainian military. These fighters became infamously known as “little green men” and have been demonstrably linked back to the Kremlin.

Many former mercenaries said they were used as “cannon fodder” and accused the Russian government of sending the men on “suicide missions.” One former Russian mercenary elaborated: “Approximately 500 to 600 people have died there.” Russia denies any ground involvement inside Syria and so must hide the casualties it suffers inside Syria.

“Sometimes the bodies are cremated but the papers say ‘they’re missing’. Sometimes the documents say the soldier was killed in Donbass (eastern Ukraine). Sometimes they say ‘car accident’ and so on,” claimed a former mercenary.

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Tags : russia syria
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