No Chechens among “soldiers of fortune” in Syria

Konstantin Garibov
Voice of Russia
Jul 24, 2012

On Monday, the leader of Russia’s Chechen republic in his Twitter micro-blog denied the reports in some mass media that Chechens were fighting in Syria.

Earlier some TV channels showed a video made after the seizure of a check point on the Syrian-Turkish border by the oppositional forces. That video had a comment saying that among the volunteers who were fighting against Bashar Assad were people from North Africa, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya. The video showed insurgents under the flag of al-Qaeda. Later the Saudi newspaper al-Sharq referring to the sources in Jordan’s special services reported that the total number of al-Qaeda insurgents who were fighting on the side of the Syrian opposition was not less than 6,000. The director of the Institute for Partnership of Civilizations under the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Veniamin Popov notes that only a month ago, the US sources gave a figure of only 700 people.

"These rapidly growing numbers show a very dangerous trend. In Syria there are many national minorities. There is also a great number of small communities in particular Christians and Alawites. They always feared the opposition’s coming to power would lead to massacres and now their fear could materialize."

The presence of “soldiers of Fortune” in Syria is not something new. There has been direct proof that foreign mercenaries have been fighting in the units of al-Qaeda for a long time. The news that the leader of al-Qaeda declared jihad to Bashar Assad is an open secret, president of the Middle East Institute Evgeny Satanovsky says.

"The news that the insurgents including those who fought in Libya are trained and armed under the sponsorship of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and that they are transported to Syria via Jordan and Turkey is a wide open secret. The elimination of Bin Laden did not play any special role in preventing the activities of al-Qaeda. Its self-financed organizations are able to act independently all over the world. In this respect Syria for them is only another front of the global jihad."

On Tuesday, the Western mass media with reference to the US sources reported that Barack Obama’s administration was going to start helping the Syrian opposition more intensively in particular to supply communication means to the opposition and to share reconnaissance data with it. Earlier the same anonymous sources reported that CIA agents were controlling the supplies of weapons and ammunition to the Syrian opposition. Illegal mediators from the ranks of Syrian Muslim Brotherhood are transporting these arms and ammunition over the border.

CIA instructors are monitoring the supplies to prevent al-Qaeda from laying hands on these weapons. But where are the guarantees that there are no members of the terrorist organizations among the insurgents of the Syrian opposition? At present Washington is not too much concerned about it. It shares the same target with the Syrian opposition which is legal power in Syria and the Syrian president.


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