Having sacrificed thousands of young Russian conscripts in his unprovoked war against Ukraine, Putin is recruiting Syrian mercenaries to add to his insatiable appetite for cannon fodder.
The Kremlin is trying to draw as many countries as possible into the war in Ukraine in order to both spread the blame through internationalising their terror tactics, and reduce the casualties among Russian soldiers. Fighting a proxy war through employing collaborators is a classic NaZi tactic.
During the invasion of Ukraine, the poor preparation of the Russian generals led to their tactical defeat across the front with heavy troop casualties.
The Kremlin has now announced the recruitment of volunteers who want to fight in Ukraine and their search is going on among the satellites of Russia, in particular, in Syria. Russian media, citing Shoigu, has announced the figure of allegedly “16 000 volunteers from the countries of the Middle East who expressed a desire to fight in Donbass.”
Of course this is just a smokescreen and the hired mercenaries will fight in Russia’s war against Ukraine. In reality such troops will be slaughtered by the Ukrainian army; they simply do not have the environmental experience, capability or awareness to survive in such a war, let alone taking into consideration factors such as leadership, support or motivation. Hired thugs from Damascus motivated to fight for Putin to help his acolytes in Donbass? This is really stretching the bounds of credibility.
Putin is seeking to minimise Russian losses by engaging Syrians, whose country has been destroyed by Russian missiles. The Kremlin legitimises its presence through destruction and murder, overt pressure and blackmail. The Assad regime in Syria has been kept in power with the help of military, economic and political support from Putin; this gambit is nothing more than a request to the Syrian dictator for a payback of cannon fodder.
In the meanwhile more than 20 000 foreign volunteers have arrived in Ukraine to fight on the side of the Ukrainian army. This is altogether a different level of external support. Professional, motivated, and determined, these are serious defenders. The Syrians would be well advised to stay at home to prop up their own dictator, and steer well away from this conflict. Volunteering to support Putin’s war against Ukraine will for them be a fast track one way ticket.