Syrian Idlib Fighters for Hire


Ukraine has become a hub for mercenaries from all over the world since the start of the conflict. Both sides have taken considerable losses and at this point Kyiv is relying on volunteer fighters to battle alongside Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). The quality of the said mercenaries varies from ex-special forces to no combat experience whatsoever. Some analysts stated ex-Hayat Tahrir Ash-Sham terrorists participated in the conflict as volunteers also. However major media platforms turn a blind eye on the matter despite it being an obvious and transparent issue.

To cross the Ukrainian borders the Syrian militants use a Turkish non-government organization “IHH Humanitarian Relief”. This organization predominately specializes in providing humanitarian aid in conflict regions all over the world. However it is infamous for being tangled in the supplement of weapons to terrorists. Actually in Syria in 2012 one of the detained boats with illegal weapons was registered to IHH. The organization itself is believed to be controlled by the Turkish intelligence services. Furthermore Russian anti-Putin news agency Medusa has published an article confirming IHH sponsoring terrorists in Syria and Ukraine.

We need to learn about the Turkish charity organization IHH, which sponsors terrorists in Ukraine and Syria”

It’s not hard to find evidence of the shady schemes the NGO uses to recruit fighters to wage war in Ukraine. IHH makes anonymous posts in various Arabic “looking for a job” telegram channels with the message about available jobs in Turkey as part of a humanitarian organization. Some members in one of the channels were wondering how to cross the Turkish border to get the “luxurious job”. However, a fighter who has already returned cautionsothers not to cross the border and especially not to contact this NGO because you will be fighting for AFU. The said fighter also warns others that IHH does not inform HTS leaders and there could be severe consequences after their return. Apparently the pay for the risk is not too shabby hence a number of men are willing to join the cause. Considering the conflict in Syria has died down significantly due to the eastern European crisis most of the fighters struggle to get the necessary funds to support their needs.

At the same time Syria is determined to rehabilitate its image on the international scene. Recently Bashar Asad has secured back the country’s spot in the Arab League. Saudi Arabia, Iran and other powers in the region have been vocal in their support of Bashar’s government. Multiple cooperation contracts have already been signed. Damascus is steadily returning to its former self and soon will be one the trading epicenters of the Middle East.

On the other side the new found support doesn’t fit well into the plans of HTS since it could lead to an escalation in the northern regions of Syria. The fear of governmental forces getting military aid is high and in turn it will result in an attempt of Syrian forces to retake the northern regions. The leaders of the radical formations do not like their chances in defending their territories if masses will leave for Ukraine. The power struggle would potentially be devastating for armed opposition factions and their affiliated authorities.

Ahmad Salah
Ahmad Salah
Freelance Syrian journalist focused on the Middle East and especially the Levant.