A group of Russian soldiers who are serving in the army on military contracts have reportedly refused to be deployed in Latakia, Syria.
A lieutenant who identified himself as Alexei N. told the Russian news website Gazeta.ru that commanders selected 20 of the best-trained soldiers and told them that they would be deployed to a hot region. They were warned that the climate would be very different from what they were used to and that there would be poisonous animals at the new place, but the specific region was not named.
The group was first sent to the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. At first, the soldiers assumed they were being sent to the east of Ukraine, but later they found out they would be deployed in Syria.
“We don’t want to go Syria, we don’t want to die there,” one of the soldiers, Alexei, whose last name was withheld, was cited by Gazeta.ru as saying.
On September 16, a General Staff representative dressed in civilian clothing told the group that a secret decree stipulates that they would be sent to Latakia and that they may have to participate in fighting.
The group was due to be shipped off on September 17, but instead they appealed to the Military Prosecutor’s Office, and the deployment was delayed. Several of the soldiers have already submitted their letters of resignation from the army.
Member of the political committee Fayez Sarah stated that Russia’s direct military intervention in Syria undermine all efforts aimed at reaching a political solution and will serve the interests of the extremist forces that feed on chaos and instability.
Sarah said that Russia’s support for a regime that has long lost its legitimacy with its use of internationally prohibited weapons and poison gas violates international laws and norms. As a permanent member of UN the Security Council, Russia is expected instead to play a positive rather than contributing to the destruction and bloodshed in Syria.
He warns that the Russian troops arriving in Syria will not withstand the blows of rebels who their draws strength and energy from a revolution that has so far defeated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the Hezbollah militia and the Afghan mercenaries that Iran recruit and send to Syria to fight alongside the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Al-Qabas)