September 29, 2020 - 22:17 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Prominent researcher on the Middle East Elizabeth Tsurkov has provided some details about the Syrian rebels who are being shipped by Turkey to fight in Azerbaijan.
Reports from Reuters, The guardian and a number of other major news outlet testify to the fact that Turkey is deploying Syrian fighters in Azerbaijan to fight the Armenian troops along the Nagorno-Karabakh line of contact. Armenian ambassador to Russia Vardan Toghanyan has said that as many as 4000 rebels have been deployed in Azerbaijan by Turkey.
According to Tsurkov, who is a PhD student at Princeton, the men have developed "a habit of stealing items from corpses, gotten heavily into drinking alcohol and exploiting desperate women who are willing to sell their bodies."
"These men are often mischaracterized as "rebels" or "opposition" but according to my research, most have no record of fighting against the Assad regime & were recruited 2016 & onward to fight ISIS & then the YPG. These men joined the SNA (Turkish-established and backed "Syrian National Army"- Ed.) for the salary," the researcher said.
"The low salaries are what prompted thousands of SNA fighters to go fight in Libya (and now possibly Azerbaijan). In Libya fighters are paid around $2,000. Men signed up to go to Azerbaijan based on rumors of similar salaries and even $2,500 monthly."
Those men, Tsurkov said, engage is systematic looting, protection rackets, extortion, kidnappings for ransom, smuggling of humans, drugs, cigarettes and weapons. Torture is commonplace in their prisons, she added.
"The phones of those who left supposedly to Azerbaijan were taken from them, so it's their habit of stealing items from corpses that may allow us to confirm their presence there: if they're indeed deployed on frontlines & able to steal the phones off of Armenian soldiers they kill," Tsurkov says.
"After being deployed in Libya, these men have gotten more heavily into drinking alcohol and exploiting desperate women who are willing to sell their bodies. They've also engaged in systematic looting. For Armenians' sake, I hope these men aren't deployed there."
Azerbaijan launched a major offensive against Karabakh (Artsakh) in the morning of September 27, shelling Armenian positions and civilian settlements with large caliber weapons and rocket systems. Armenia and Karabakh have introduced martial law and total mobilization. The Armenian side has reported deaths and injuries both among the civilian population and the military.