Turkish Anadolu Agency cited Syrian sources as saying that Russia had sent 300 mercenaries, including former members of ISIS, from the regions under the control of the Bashar Assad regime in eastern Syria to fight alongside Khalifa Haftar’s forces in eastern Libya.
“Russia sent (Shabiha) militias affiliated with the Bashar al-Assad regime from Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province and 300 warriors, mostly Syrian, from the Iranian-backed foreign groups — Fatimiyyun, Zeynebiyyun and Jerusalem brigades — to Libya, and paying each $1,000-1,500 monthly.” The news agency reported on Monday.
It added that among the new soldiers of fortune are people of Iran and Afghan origins as well, explaining that all mercenaries were taken to Russia’s military points in Syria’s Latakia province for necessary training before joining Haftar’s ranks.
“Among the new mercenaries sent by Russia to Libya, there were at least eight former ISIS members who had returned to Deir ez-Zor by signing a “compromise” with the regime and later joined the Jerusalem Brigade.” It added.
The agency cited the sources as saying that the former ISIS members were from the Dablan town of Deir ez-Zor and they fought alongside the terror group for nearly 2.5 years.
Foreign warriors in Haftar’s ranks include Russian mercenaries, “Cancavid” militias brought from Sudan, as well as armed rebels from Chad.
The Volcano of Rage Operation under the command of Government of National Accord (GNA) published documents for contracts of Russian Wagner Group with Syrian mercenaries for sending them to fight for Haftar’s forces in Libya.
According to estimates, the number of mercenaries sent by Russia to fight for Haftar from various provinces of Syria has neared 2000 so far, Anadolu Agency said.