Battle-hardened Russian “volunteers” who fought in their country’s incursion into Ukraine will be heading to Syria to join the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Russian official said Monday.
“It is likely that groups of Russian volunteers will appear in the ranks of the Syrian army as combat participants,” Adm. Vladimir Komoyedov, head of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, told the Interfax-AVN news agency.
The Kremlin had said earlier that Russia had no plans to deploy ground troops in Syria and would launch only airstrikes to support the Syrian army and fight ISIS militants.
But Komoyedov said the supposed volunteers would be paid in cash.
“What attracts volunteers apart from ideas? Of course, money most likely,” he said.
Sources told the news agency that the fighters would get the equivalent of about $50 a day.
Komoyedov also said Russia’s Black Sea Fleet could blockade the Syrian coastline if necessary or shell rebels on Syrian territory.
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