Russian militia recruits young men from al-Suwayda to fight in Libya
Al-Suwayda - SMART
The Russian Wagner Group recruits young men from the Syrian government-controlled governorate of al-Suwayda, Southern Syria, to fight alongside the Libyan National Army headed by Khalifa Haftar against the Government of National Accord headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.
On Monday, a security source reported to SMART that the Syrian National Youth Party licensed by the Syrian government lists the young men’s names to fight with the Wagner Group. The source noted that the young men’s number is few and they have not been sent to Libya yet.
The source added that the young men’s recruitment is secret because it is unacceptable for the residents of al-Suwayda. The source did not specify the accurate number of the young men and the inducements they receive.
Activists posted on social media that Shibli al-Sha’er, the Syrian National Youth Party secretary, calls on young men from al-Suwayda to join the Wagner Group in return for salaries that reach $1,000 for those who guard facilities, and $1,500 for those who fight. The recruits’ families receive compensation if their sons were killed or captured. Shibli promised to settle the situation of those young men wanted by the Syrian government.
On Jan.11, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that many mercenaries from different nationalities are active in Libya. Putin added that even if the mercenaries included Russians, they do not represent the Russian people. On Jan. 6, 2020, the United States warned against sending Syrian fighters and Russian mercenaries to fight with the parties of the conflict in Libya.
Haftar is supported by Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and, more recently, the US; however, Qatar and Turkey back the Government of National Accord that is recognized by the international community. Turkey sent hundreds of Turkish soldiers and fighters of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army to fight against Haftar in Libya.