September 30, 2020 - 23:44 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - International media outlets have been publishing more evidence of Turkey's involvement in recent hostilities against Nagorno-Karabakh and the deployment of Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan.
In an article published on Wednesday, September 30, BBC Arabic unveils the story of Abdullah (the name is changed).
The chat between the fighter and the journalist has been brief as he was sending his answers in a hurry from a military camp in the Azerbaijani army, so that none of his commanders would notice and punish him.
The fighter says the camp is located on the border with Armenia and is strictly controlled. Abdullah is reportedly one of hundreds of untrained Syrians aged 17-30, who have been dispatched since a week ago, with the knowledge of the Turkish army and its ally in the Syrian north, the opposition National Army, to fight alongside the Azeri forces.
The Armenian government says Turkey has deployed as many as 4,000 Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan. The Guardian and Reuters have published separate stories on the matter.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed that some SNA factions have sent fighters to Azerbaijan at the behest of Ankara, while other fighters from the cities of Homs and Ghouta have refused to go.
According to the BBC story, Abdullah has accepted the job in Azerbaijan for $2,000 a month to improve his and his family's living conditions, but he had no idea what to expect because when the offer was made, Azerbaijan hadn't unleashed the war on Karabakh.
After arriving in Azerbaijan, all their money, phones and clothes have been taken away, but Abdullah says he has managed to get his phone back to be able to communicate with his family.
When the war broke, he says they were loaded into personnel carriers and given a single Kalashnikov gun each.
"Most of us here are poor people who wanted the money but are no soldiers. The vehicle stopped and we were surprised to find ourselves on the frontline. The younger ones started crying in fear and wanted to return to the camp. Then a shell fell next to us, killing four Syrians and wounding three others," Abdullah remembers.
The fighter says he has seen the bodies of ten Syrians in the camp where he is dispatched, while seventy others have been injured, with no access to healthcare.
Local sources in northern Syria have told BBC Arabic that a number of families have been receiving news of the death of their relatives in Azerbaijan.
"After the start of the war, we have tried to return to Syria, but they won't let us. We were threatened with long prison terms if we refused to fight in the front," he says.
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. On September 29, the Azerbaijani army began shelling position and civilian settlements in Armenia, which resulted in civilian casualty.