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Armenia Claims Syrian Mercenary Captured In Karabakh


The Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh says this Syrian man was captured while fighting alongside Azerbaijani forces as a mercenary, October 30, 2020

Ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh have captured a Syrian mercenary who they claim fought on Azerbaijan’s side, Armenia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday.

Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanian identified the captive as Mehred Mohammad Alsher from the Syrian city of Hama.

“The very first interrogation [of the captive] proved that there are mercenaries in the Azerbaijani army,” Stepanian said, posting a one-minute video of the man’s interrogation on Facebook.

Since the outbreak of the ongoing hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27 Armenia has insisted that hundreds of Syrian jihadists recruited by Turkey are fighting alongside Azerbaijan’s regular army in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

Russia, France, the United States, Iran and other countries and international organizations have also voiced their concern about credible reports of Syrian mercenaries being involved in the Karabakh fighting.

Azerbaijan and Turkey have denied recruiting any mercenaries to fight in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, instead accusing Armenia of having PKK fighters and other mercenaries fighting on its side, a claim discarded by Yerevan as groundless.

Yerevan’s arguments on the presence of mercenaries on the Azerbaijani side have also been supported by multiple investigative reports by Western journalists, some of which alleged that Turkey began recruiting jihadist fighters to be later deployed in Azerbaijan as early as July.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service earlier this month one such journalist, Lindsey Snell, estimated that the number of Syrian mercenaries fighting for Azerbaijan at one point was around 2,000.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based human rights organization, at least 217 Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries have been killed in the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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