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Russia Says 87 'Extremist' Fighters from Syria's Idlib Headed to Ukraine

Russia Says 87 'Extremist' Fighters from Syria's Idlib Headed to Ukraine

Wednesday, 30 March, 2022 - 06:15
The regional government headquarters of Mykolaiv, Ukraine, following a Russian attack, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (AP)

At least 87 foreign militants from various terrorist groups operating in Syria have left the Idlib countryside in northwestern Syria to Ukraine, reported the Sputnik news agency.

The agency quoted sources familiar with the matter as confirming that the militants - mostly Iraqis, French nationals, Tunisians and Chechens - from Hurras al-Din, Ansar al-Tawhid and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a militant faction formerly known as the Nusra Front, departed on Saturday.

The sources revealed that all the militants had been fighting in ISIS ranks before joining their new armed factions, noting that they are highly experienced in guerrilla warfare.

The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham transferred the militants on Thursday and Friday to Sarmada city (about five kilometers east of the Syrian-Turkish border). From there entered Turkey, from where they were transported to Ukraine.

Sources revealed that leader of the Nusra Front in Idlib Abu Mohammed al-Golani held a series of meetings last week with leaders of armed organizations in a mosque in the city center.

He urged them to encourage fighters to travel to Ukraine and fight against Russian forces, the sources added.

Golani insisted that only foreign fighters from active armed groups in Idlib could travel while Syrians must remain in their country.

On the other end of the divide, sources in Damascus said pro-regime figures have started to prepare the transport of fighters to join Russian forces in Ukraine.

Contracts for the fighters have been handed out. They would operate for a duration of seven months, earning $1,000 per month. About 23,000 fighters are ready to leave.

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