119 Syrian Mercenaries Have Died in Karabakh

On October 13, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights discussed the issue of Syrians who are fighting alongside Azerbaijani forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

The discussion focused on the number of Syrian mercenaries who are fleeing the fighting Karabakh and returning to Syria. Meanwhile, Turkish authorities are still attempting to find new groups to be sent to Azerbaijan. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 119 mercenaries have been killed in the current Karabakh war. The deaths have made sending mercenaries to Azerbaijan more difficult for Turkey as fighters refuse to travel to Azerbaijan. According to another source, the number of mercenaries in Azerbaijan has now reached 1,400, which includes the 250 sent to Azerbaijan by Turkey last week.

Rybar Telegram Channel also notes that a group of Syrian mercenaries refused to leave Syria and fight in Azerbaijan because the fighting has intensified.

Kurdish Response

The People’s Democratic Party of Turkey, the country’s pro-Kurdish political group, has raised their voice in protest against the transfer of Syrian mercenaries to Azerbaijan. On October 13, Sarbel Kemal Bey, a party, requested that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirm that militant groups were flown to Azerbaijan with the help of Turkey. According to Kemal Bey, there are rumors that the militants moved from Afrin, Syria to Azerbaijan for a contract of three months for $1,800 a month.

Erdoğan Response

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denied Turkey’s involvement in the transfer of the mercenaries to Azerbaijan during a parliamentary session on October 14. He noted that the armed militant groups already have problems in the areas where they operate and that they, therefore, have no incentive to move to the South Caucasus.

Erdoğan claimed that Turkey’s military support for Azerbaijan made up for the support that Armenia received from Russia and France. He also criticized the activities of the main negotiating body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, as well as its co-chairs France, Russia, and the US. Erdoğan yet again mentioned that Turkey must have a seat at the table in the new round of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Turkey’s Far-Right Response

On October 13, Devlet Bahçeli, the president of the Turkish far-right Nationalist Movement Party, accused Armenia of committing terrorism and also criticized Russia’s policy towards the conflict. According to him, the entire territory of Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijan. He also stated that if the Armenian side is to win the current war, difficult times will lie ahead for Azerbaijanis.

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