Exclusive interview | Mercenaries “deceived” by Abu Amsha: “He stole our salaries and opened projects with our money”
Although the file of Syrian mercenaries sent previously to Azerbaijan was closed more than six months ago, repercussions of this issue still affecting many of these mercenaries, especially since many of Syrian fighters who had fought alongside Turkish forces in Nagorno-Karabakh have not got all their financial dues yet, while promises to them remained unfulfiled. Mercenaries of most Turkish-backed factions have suffered from such practices. However, Suleiman Shah faction tops the list with looting the largest share of payments of mercenaries it sent to fight in Azerbaijan.
A few months after returning to Syria, several mercenaries who had fought under the banner of al-Amshat faction in Nagorno-Karabakh shared their experience with the Syrian Observatory, talking about the way they had been turned into mercenaries and how they had been deceived by the commander of Suleiman Shah faction, Mohammed al-Jasem “Abu Amsha”.
The mercenaries said “Abu Amsha promised to give us a monthly salary of 2,000 USD each when he met with us in Hawar Kilis area, threatening to hold every battalion’s leader accountable if they loot even one lira of the fighters’ salaries, using swear words which he is known for. When we returned to Syria after the end of military operations, he had too little of our money, while the promises of Abu Amsha remained unfulfilled. After a while, we individually started to ask for our dues, but to no avail. We later started to call for paying our financial due collectively and through tribal councils, but Abu Amsha usually ignored our demands. On other occasions, Abu Amsha set small feast for the injured fighters, where he shared out 1,000 to 2,000 Turkish liras in order to temporarily hush the fighters who called for their dues and promised to support them, but all of these promises also remained unfulfiled.”
“The video clip which was circulated recently and showed several mercenaries calling upon Abu Amsha for paying their financial dues is not fabricated. However, Abu Amsha and his gang reacted to the video clip posted by SOHR by fabricating another video clip, accusing SOHR and the dissident Brigadier General Ahmed Rahal of paying money to the these mercenaries in return for appearing in first video clip,” added the mercenaries.
The mercenaries also said “we went to Azerbaijan and Libya only for money, not to just serve the narrow interest of Abu Amsha or any other bodies, especially with our extreme poverty, lack of job opportunities and prohibitively high prices of essential products. All of these factors have been exploited by the Turkish intelligence and their proxy factions. Abu Amsha and commanders like him maid fortunes by our money, and the projects in Sheikh Hadeed in Afrin countryside have proved this fact.”
It is worth noting that the number of mercenaries transferred to Azerbaijan by Turkish government reached 2,580 fighters, of whom 514 were killed and others were captured. Also, the fate of 240 fighters remained unknown. Meanwhile the rest of Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries returned to Syria, as Azerbaijani government refused to let them to stay in Azerbaijan after their mission ended.