Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Russia Intervenes to ‘Control Corruption’ in Syrian Army

Russia Intervenes to ‘Control Corruption’ in Syrian Army

Wednesday, 16 January, 2019 - 07:00
A fighter from Faylaq al-Sham, one of the factions of the Turkish-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) factions, is seen holding a Kalashnikov assault rifle at a position in the village of Kiridiyah, about 30 kilometres west of the northern town of Manbij, on January 15, 2019. Bakr ALKASEM / AFP

Russia has exerted pressure on Damascus to establish an inspection committee capable of controling corruption in the Syrian army, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat Tuesday.

“The Army Command has established a committee of seven officers tasked with inspecting military units and with holding meetings with soldiers and officers to fight the spread of rampant corruption in the ranks of the military during the seven-year war,” the sources explained.

They said members of the inspection committee are tasked with making unannounced visits to the units to check the presence of soldiers at all times.

“The committee checks the length of their hair, the color of their skin, and then asks them questions on the type of breakfast or lunch they had in the past days. They later compare the answers with the list of menu provided by the unit,” the sources said.

Many officers have not been pleased with the committee’s formation.

The sources said that corruption cases include the exemption of several soldiers from their missions in exchange for a monthly salary paid to the officer in charge.

Separately, the Turkish president’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, told a news conference in Ankara Tuesday that Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on January 23 to discuss “among other issues the situation in Idlib and cooperation with Russia within the framework of the US decision to withdraw troops from Syria.”

The Russian side has not yet issued a confirmation on the new summit.

At the end of 2018, a high-ranking Turkish delegation including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held talks with their Russian counterparts in Moscow on the situation in Idlib and east of the Euphrates River.

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