Abu Ahmed, a rebel fighter from Turkey, is waiting to be stationed in Azerbaijan to help the families who lost their homes in the Syrian war. If he fights for Azeri, he will earn 70 times more than his current salary.
“I registered to fight in Azerbaijan a week ago.” I would fight there for three months in exchange for two thousand dollars a month.
The conflict has been going on since Sunday between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karbakh region. In the 1990s, the Armenian ethnic group took control of the region from Azerbaijan. They have been blaming each other for the clashes this time. About 200 people have been reported dead so far. This is the worst confrontation between the two countries since the war of the nineties.
Turkey is supporting Azerbaijan, a long-time ally in the conflict. There are allegations against Ankara that Turkish-Turkish Syrian mercenaries are being sent to increase the power of Azerbaijan. Although Azeri denies this, France supports the allegations.
The French news agency AFP spoke with some anti-Syrian fighters in Aleppo and Idlib. He said that he was preparing to go to the Caucasus and that he had already arrived at the scene.
Abu Ahmed, who is in a camp for Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, told AFP that he was going to the Karabakh region to make better arrangements for his wife and child. “We have lost our villages and homes,” he said. Now we have nothing to eat.
The man, who had been a rebel fighter for the last five years, said that he was waiting for his turn to go to Azerbaijan. If I go there, I can save some money. I will come back from there and start some business.
Abu Ahmed and his family fled their home in Aleppo earlier this year in a Russian-backed military operation by the Syrian government. His earnings have declined since the ceasefire in March. Last month, he received only 200 Turkish lira (from 25) from his rebel group. Which is not enough to support the family.
Upon hearing about the Syrian casualties in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abu Ahmad realizes the risk. However, he said, there is no other path before us. We have reached a point where we are ready to sacrifice ourselves to provide food for our children.
According to Britain-based The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 650 Syrian fighters have already reached Azerbaijan via Turkey. Hundreds more ready to go. Turkish pro-combatants have been promised monthly salaries ranging from 2,000 to 1,500. A group of Syrian fighters arrived in Azerbaijan before the conflict began. There he is assigned to protect the oil field.
A Syrian fighter in the city of Atrev in Aleppo province told AFP that he was facing a conflict. “Yes, I am in Azerbaijan,” he said in a text message. Did not say more. A source in his hometown said that the commander of the unit he was in, Mohammed Shaban, was killed. Shaban is one of four Syrian fighters on social media.
The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, said at least 26 Syrian fighters were killed in the conflict since Sunday. Relatives of the three fighters confirmed the death to AFP.
Earlier, Turkey agreed to send Syrian fighters to Libya to strengthen the UN-backed government. However, Azerbaijan has not commented officially on the sending of Syrian mercenaries.