Exclusive: Suwayda’ 24 lifts the veil from information and new documents, some of which are marked ‘top secret’, concerning operations to recruit hundreds of Syrian youth from Suwayda’ and various provinces, with the aim of throwing them as mercenaries in Libya which is witnessing a civil war.
And sources confirmed to Suwayda’ 24 after investigations carried out by the research team in the network, that there is direct coordination between the Syrian authorities and the Russian forces through Syrian and Russian security companies, to send hundreds of Syrian fighters to Libya, in order to fight alongside the forces of Khalifa Haftar, against the forces of the Accord government, exploiting the state of poverty and deterioration of the economic situation for Syrians.
Hundreds prepare to travel from Himeimim to Libya!
Suwayda’ 24 spoke with one of the people who decided to depart to Libya, and he hails from one of the villages of western Suwayda’ countryside, but he preferred not to mention his name. And he revealed that he is present currently in the Russian base in Latakia, known as Himeimim airbase, accompanied by hundreds of Syrians from various provinces, and it is established that they will travel on Monday morning to Benghazi airport.
He adds that dozens of youth from the province of Suwayda’ are present with him in the Russian base currently: ‘There are youth from the villages of Ariqa, Harran, al-Hawiya, Shaqa, Maf’ala, Qanawat, Labin and Suwayda’, and many from other areas’, in addition to dozens from various provinces like Deraa, Quneitra, Damascus countryside, Homs, Tartous and Latakia.
And the source continued that he arrived with a group from Suwayda’ 48 hours ago to the Himeimim airbase, and they have not been subject to a training course until now as was established. He added: ‘They have informed us that we will be subject to a course in Libya, and there is a need for numbers of the fighters therefore we will be transferred from Syria as soon as possible. Hundreds are here in Himeimim and we are awaiting between an hour and another to be transferred.’
He also confirmed that he signed a contract with the ‘Siyad’ company and ‘there are other security companies with which contracts have been signed.’ And he added that he received promises from an official in the company during the signing of the contract that he would receive a salary of 1000 dollars in exchange for guarding installations, from which 200 dollars would be deducted as guaranteeing necessities. As for if he decides to participate in the fighting operations on the frontlines, the salary is 1500 dollars monthly.
Prior experience and false promises!
Another person from the city of Suwayda’ told Suwayda’ 24 that he departed at the beginning of last March towards Libya, after he was subject to a training course lasting 14 days, in one of the sites of the Syrian army in Homs countryside, supervised by trainers from Russian affiliated with the Wagner company. He affirmed that he was transferred with dozens of Syrian fighters in a civilian aircraft affiliated with the Sham Wings company, from Himeimim military airbase in Latakia to Benghazi airport in Libya.
And he added that after they arrived to Benghazi airport in Libya, they were transferred by military cars containing Russian forces and Libyan forces affiliated with Marshal Khalifa Haftar to an oil installation located a distance of 3 hours away approximately from Benghazi city. He spent 3 months in it on guard duties. Then he returned in the middle of this June on a leave permit for around a month from Benghazi airport to Himeimim airbase, but he affirmed that he did not obtain the sums that they promised, and he received less than half of them.
He also noted that the contact with him was cut during the time he was present in Libya, as there were no connections or Internet present in the area. He affirmed: ‘Whoso goes, his news is cut off.’ An identical testimony was affirmed to Suwayda’ 24 by one of the relatives of the youth present in Libya currently, as he said that his brother departed in April and until today there is no information about him, and the contact with him is cut off.
A licensed company and a commendation award from Putin!
The research team in Suwayda’ 24 came to the conclusion that security companies licensed among the Syrian authorities, in cooperation with the Russian forces in Syria, are overseeing the recruitment operations, via agents present in Suwayda’ province. Their task is to entice the youth with material offers, in exchange for going to Libya as mercenaries.
And among the most prominent sides that oversee the recruitment operations in Suwayda’ province is a security company bearing the name of ‘Siyad’ for services of guarding and protection, registered in the business register under the number 9765 on date 17 March 2017 CE, and its base is in Suqaylabiya’ town in Hama province, and it is overseen by a person called Fawaz Mikha’il Gergis.
And our information indicates that Fawaz Mikha’il Gergis is the official of the company and the most prominent of those responsible for recruiting mercenaries in Syria and sending them to Libya, in cooperation with the ‘Wagner’ company. He has strong links with the Russian forces in Syria and moves between Syria and Russia repeatedly, and he obtained an award from the Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2018, in recognition of his services.
Gergis is considered to be among those responsible for forming fighting groups alongside the Russian forces for a number of years in Syria, and the most prominent of the groups whose formation he has overseen has been a group known by the name of ‘ISIS Hunters’, whose renown spread at the end of 2017, and it was fighting with direct air support from the Russian forces, and participating in protection of oil facilities for the interest of the Russians.
And the Suwayda’ 24 team obtained a copy of the registration contract that the company contracts through its agents in Suwayda’ with those who desire to fight in Libya, in addition to the clauses of the contract written in Arabic and Russian, defining the nature of the work for the mercenaries, and the material payments, compensations and tasks that the company sets for them.
And through research, our sources confirmed the presence of more than 10 agents in Suwayda’ province for the ‘Siyad’ company and other security companies. Their task is to bring the youth for recruitment, and among them is ‘Shibli al-Sha’er’ in a town, an official in the National Youth Party that is licensed by the Syrian government, a person called ‘Waseem’ in the locality of Ateel, and another called ‘Bashar’ in the town of Shahba, in addition to ‘Basil’, an agent for the military intelligence branch and a security company.
Clauses of the contract
Despite the fact that the agents of the security companies present promises to those who affiliate ranging from 1000 to 1500 dollars, the clauses of the contract that Suwayda’ 24 reviewed affirm that the salary of the first month for the fighter is 200 dollars, and in the following months it rises to 300 dollars, in addition to combat reward reaching 10 dollars for every day in which the mercenary participates in combat operations.
And the clauses also define monthly bonuses ranging between 20 and 100 dollars, for leaders of contingents, squadrons and divisions, in addition to recompense for the relatives of the mercenary, amounting to 5000 dollars, in the event he is killed,, in addition to a sum of 50 dollars monthly during the period of the company’s work in Syria. As for when the mercenary is wounded, the company agrees to pay recompenses according to the severity of the wound, ranging between 20 and 500 US dollars.
And article 14 of the clauses of the contract in the company affirm the existence of a memorandum of understanding between it and the Defence Ministry in Syria, guaranteeing the lack of pursuit of evaders of obligatory and reserve service in the Syrian army: that is, regularising of status for the wanted. And that clearly indicates the agreement of the Syrian regime at its highest authorities to throw the Syrian youth as mercenaries outside their land.
And in article 11, the period of the mercenary’s service is set as three consecutive months in implementing the tasks defined for him, and he obtains after it a leave permit for a period of a month as paid leave, and many of the articles are those that define the nature of the work and oblige the mercenaries to complete secrecy of information. And Suwayda’ 24 displays a part of the clauses within the report.
And Suwayda’ 24 revealed a report in the middle of February of this year about recruitment operations for the mercenaries occurring in a cautious and limited sense in Suwayda’ province through persons connected with the Syrian intelligence apparatuses and the Russian forces and the National Youth party. And the recruitment operations have increased in the past weeks in an unprecedented sense, amid the rise of the intensity of the confrontations on the Libyan lands.
And press reports point out that the battles have become at their most intense between the Accord government forces supported by Turkey on one side, and Haftar’s forces supported by Russia on another side, while the latter has lost a number of positions during the past weeks, after bloody confrontations. And this is what is pushing Russia and the Syrian regime to throw in hundreds of fighters in an attempt to save their ally Haftar.