Syria’s barrel bomb experts in Russia to help with potential Ukraine campaign

1 month ago 28

Technicians linked to the Syrian military’s infamous tube bombs that person wreaked devastation crossed overmuch of the state person been deployed to Russia to assistance perchance hole for a akin run successful the Ukraine war, European officials believe.

Intelligence officers accidental much than 50 specialists, each with immense acquisition successful making and delivering the crude explosive, person been successful Russia for respective weeks moving alongside officials from Vladimir Putin’s military.

Their accomplishment is understood to beryllium 1 origin down US and European warnings that the Russian subject whitethorn person been preparing for the usage of chemic weapons successful the conflict, which has entered its 4th period with small motion of slowing.

Barrel bombs – crude explosives packed successful to a drum and dropped from a chopper – were utilized to devastating effect passim the Syrian war. The authorities was besides regularly accused of filling canisters with chlorine and dropping them connected absorption held towns and cities, causing hundreds of deaths and sparking wide alarm.

With nary anti-aircraft weapons, the anti-Assad absorption had small to antagonistic the Syrian military’s aerial supremacy, which was a large origin successful the authorities clawing backmost parts of the state aft 10 years of war.

The concern is precise antithetic successful Ukraine, however, wherever Ukrainian troops equipped with lethal crushed to aerial missiles tin bring down Russian jets and helicopters, stalling advances and exposing crushed forces to withering artillery fire.

“This is astir apt wherefore we haven’t seen them transverse the border,” said 1 European official. “We cognize the capableness is there, but if they usage it, they lose; we volition cognize who’s done it, and they volition apt beryllium killed anyway.”

The tube weaponry specialists were astatine the vanguard of the forces the Syrian authorities sent to Russia to enactment Putin, whose backing had been instrumental successful securing Assad regime’s grip connected power.

The officials judge betwixt 800 and 1,000 Syrian troops person truthful acold volunteered to question to Russia, wherever the Kremlin has promised them salaries of betwixt $1,500-$4,000 – up to 20 times the amounts they would person successful Syria, wherever an economical illness has ravaged the section currency’s value.

The Syrian authorities has established 4 main recruiting centres for the Russian deployment, successful Damascus, Latakia, Hama and Homs. Recruits are deployed nether declaration with the Wagner Group, the Russian backstage subject organisation, which has played a starring relation successful hiring mercenaries to enactment Russia’s overseas adventures.

Wagner has been salient successful Libya and eastbound Syria supporting Russia’s interests. However, it has sometimes had a frayed narration with the Kremlin. In aboriginal 2018, its forces were engaged successful a brutal conflict with US and Kurdish forces successful the Syrian state of Deir Azzour, successful which much than 140 mercenaries were killed, chiefly by US artillery. European officials accidental that the Russian authorities had fixed a greenish airy for the attack.

“It seems they had gotten excessively large for their boots,” an authoritative said. “We cognize for a information that the Kremlin chopped them loose.”

Ever since though, Wagner has been cardinal to Russia’s actions. Its forces were among the archetypal deployed into Ukraine and are accused of committing atrocities successful Bucha, wherever up to 1,000 radical were massacred implicit a fewer days successful aboriginal April.

A comparative of a Syrian service lieutenant who signed up to combat successful Ukraine denied his uncle was a mercenary. “They are going determination arsenic a regular service unit,” helium said. “He is traveling with a afloat platoon. Only 4 of them didn’t privation to go. Putin did a batch for us, and we tin assistance him now.”

In precocious April, the Ukrainian authorities claimed that up to 25 Libyan oregon Syrian fighters had been killed successful the municipality of Popasna, though this was denied by some Syrian officials and absorption members.

“I asked my uncle that,” said the comparative who refused to beryllium named. “He said it’s not them, but it mightiness beryllium Libyans. He insists that not 1 of them has crossed the border.”

Wagner is thought to person deployed up to 500 men arsenic reconnaissance elements successful Ukraine. Many person been flown successful from hotspots astir northbound and cardinal Africa.