Syrian mercenaries in Azerbaijan?

Ali Hajizade

Editor’s column

AHajizade

Syrian troops from the National Army of the Free Syrian Army are seen in a still from a video in which they say they are on their way to Libya, video uploaded Jan. 8, 2020. Photo by Twitter/@hassinaouch.

Rumors about alleged presence of pro-Turkish militants from Syria in Azerbaijan, allegedly transported to Azerbaijan by Turkish aviation, have been circulating for several months, first in the Armenian media, Russian and Armenian telegram channels, and now in some international media as well.

If one studies such reports, it becomes apparent that they were written (or were dictated) by people who are not actually familiar with the realities of Azerbaijan, with the manner of combat actions by Azerbaijani army. Some did not even bother to check the map to understand the geography of the conflict.

It is worth noting that such paramilitary units are mostly used in proxy conflicts or civil wars, and what is happening now in Karabakh cannot be considered neither the former nor the latter. In addition, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, are superior to the enemy both in terms of numbers, and, as actions over the past few days show, in terms of training. Besides, there are also internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and border guard troops, which have not yet been involved in military operations. What will the arrival to the theater of operations of 300-400 militants from Syria change for Azerbaijan? Absolutely nothing. It is quite obvious that this is another product of Armenian propaganda. I would like to emphasize that this is not a new phenomenon, as during the military clashes in April 2016, the Armenian side came up with a speculation about alleged involvement of ISIS militants in hostilities on the side of Azerbaijan. However, no actual evidence has ever been provided. When the hostilities ended, the Armenian propaganda simply forgot about “ISIS fighters in Karabakh”.

And now they turned back to the speculations about “foreign fighters”.

Long before the outbreak of hostilities, the Armenian army experienced serious personnel shortages, as Armenia had a problem with having a sufficient number conscripts for many years, due to a population decline, as well as evasion of the conscripts from the draft.

On the other hand, since militants from Armenian organizations in Syria and Lebanon, as well as Kurdish armed units from Syria and Iraq are transported via Iran or flown by air to Armenia, the conclusion is self-evident. The fake news from the Armenian sources are just an attempt to divert attention from the militants who arrive to Armenia and are sent to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. I hope that soon the Azerbaijani authorities will present as evidence bodies of killed foreign militants who are fighting on the Armenian side.

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