Macron Has Proof of Turkey-Backed Jihadists Fighting for Baku; Moscow, Penatgon Confirm

By Asbarez | Thursday, 01 October 2020

Syrian mercenaries under the flag on Turkey are deployed to fight for Azerbaijan

Syrian mercenaries under the flag on Turkey are deployed to fight for Azerbaijan

“I directly told Aliyev that nothing can justify Azerbaijani attacks against Karabakh,” Macron says.

President Emanuel Macron of France said Thursday he has proof that Syrian Islamists from Turkey are participating in Azerbaijan’s military operations against Artsakh. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said it is in possession of evidence of mercenaries engaged in combat on behalf of Baku.

“Today, we have information, with certainty, that indicates that Syrian militants have left the field of combat … to re-join the field of combat in Karabakh,” Macron said, according to report by the Russian TASS news agency.

‘’I directly told [Azerbaijan’s President Ilham] Aliyev that the attack against Nagorno Karabakh by Azerbaijan has no justification,” Macron told reporters ahead of briefing to European Union leaders, calling the current situation dangerous.

Russia’s foreign ministry on Thursday urged the immediate withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and terrorists from the Artsakh-Azerbaijan line of contact.

“According to information we are receiving, the transfer of illegal armed groups, namely from Syria and Libya is being carried out to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone with the purpose of direct participation in combat operations. We are deeply concerned with these processes which not only lead to greater escalation in the conflict zone but also create lasting threat for the security of all regional countries,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“We call on the stakeholder states’ leaders to take effective measures for not allowing the use of foreign terrorists and mercenaries in the conflict and immediately withdrawing them from the region,” added the foreign ministry.

A U.S. Defense Department official confirmed the fact that Turkey-backed mercenaries are fighting alongside Azerbaijani forces on the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border.

The official, who asked not to be named, told Sky News Arabia that “the reports and information that spoke about dozens of trips between Turkey and Azerbaijan in the past days to transport hundreds of Syrian mercenaries are proven and correct.”

Meanwhile, the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that military rhetoric from “third countries” about the situation in Nagorno Karabakh can lead to destabilization of the region, TASS reported.

‘’We find military rhetoric and actions by third parties ineffective and irresponsible, which can cause further  escalations leading to destabilization of the situation, which, in turn, can have extremely unpredictable consequences,’’ Zakharova said.

Immediately after Azerbaijan began a systematic attack along the entire Artsakh border on Sunday, official Yerevan sounded the alarm about Azerbaijan deploying Turkey-backed militants and jihadists to the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border. The office of Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, said that an estimate 4,000 mercenaries were fighting for Azerbaijan, having been paid $1,500 to $2,000.

The BBC Arabic Service caught up with one of those mercenaries who went by the name Abdullah who recounted how he was deceived by Azerbaijan and Turkey and taken to Azerbaijan to fight against Armenians.

Abdullah told the BBC that he and many other Syrians were promised $2,000, but were not informed they would participate in the military operations.

‘’I did not know we would be fighting,’’ Abdullah told the BBC, which reported that he was speaking in a rushed manner because he was attending a military meeting of the Azerbaijani army and was afraid that the commanders might see him writing.

The BBC reported hat Abdullah is one of the hundreds of untrained Syrians between the ages of 17 and 30, who have been sent to Azerbaijan since September 23 to fight together with the Azerbaijani army.

Abdullah said he is a resident of northern Syria who lives in poverty and for that reason he agreed to go to Azerbaijan for $2000.

Abdullah had been told that for that salary he would have to patrol military positions, but immediately after leaving Syria, his personal belongings, including his cell phone, cloths and money were confiscated to prevent his identity from being disclosed. Later Abdullah was able to take back his phone and contact his family members, but now he doubts that he will be able to see them again. Abdullah said that they were taken to the airport of Antep to Istanbul and then to Azerbaijan. At that time the war had not started and they did not undergo any military training, he told the BBC.

The mercenaries were dressed in the uniform of the Azerbaijani army and given Kalashnikov rifles, said Abdullah.

‘’When the truck stopped, they unexpectedly found out that they were in the front line and did not even know where the enemy was. When the clashes started one of the young mercenaries started to cry and wanted to go back but at that moment a bomb exploded and four Syrians died and three were injured,’’ Abdullah told the BBC.

He said that there were bodies of 10 Syrian in their section and 17 were injured but received no proper medical attention. Abdullah also told BBC that they tried to inform their commander about their intention to go back, but they were not allowed and were threatened to be imprisoned for a long time if they did not fight in the front line.

“This news is exceptionally worrying,” said Tatoyan, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender in a statement on Thursday. “It may bring a humanitarian catastrophe, accompanied by not only human losses, but also massive destruction. It is terrifying to imagine the severity of crimes against humanity and war crimes that may be committed in these conditions.”

“The UN Human Rights Council by its 42/9 resolution of 26 September 2019 has strongly condemned use of mercenaries to impede the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, considering mercenaries’ activities crimes and threat to security, peace and human rights,” explained Tatoyan.

Therefore, he said, the international community and especially human rights organizations must react immediately.

“The International community and especially human rights organizations have no right to ignore this exceptionally worrying information by hiding under ‘political’ pressures and exonerating this crime,” added Tatoyan.