08/22/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) – More than a year after the recruitment of Syrian mercenaries to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) began, the question of long-term, regional effects still remains. Syrian mercenaries, recruited by Turkey and Azerbaijan to fight on behalf of Azerbaijan against Armenia, were paid $2,000 USD per month. Though the “salary” was less than those recruited for Libya, the amount was still large for Syrians. An estimated 1,000 militants were deployed after being recruited from Syrian terrorist networks.
What happened to those mercenaries following the end of the war is unknown exactly. Some report that a large portion of Syrian mercenaries were killed in action and some have returned home. But some may have stayed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. And with these foreign fighters comes their propensity for violence in a fragile peace agreement.
The Syrian fighters received training and real-life war to practice and hone their abilities. Those who survived and have gone home brought back with them the skills to present for the next time Syrians are recruited as mercenaries. This “career mercenary” option, hopping from conflict to conflict, perpetuates the demand and supply cycle of jihadist fighters in war.
Syrian mercenaries and Azeri forces alike committed war crimes against Armenians during the 44-day war last fall. International Christian Concern (ICC) joins others in calling for accountability and justice for the crimes against humanity committed during and after the war.