Ukraine, Syria and the Volunteers
There is no doubt that many Syrians felt euphoria after the Russian involvement in the Ukrainian quagmire. They started gloating when historically unprecedented Western sanctions were announced. These sanctions amounted to the level of World War III, but through economic means. These measures rained down on the Russian regime and made it an international besieged pariah. It is well known that the Syrians consider Russia the number one enemy of their revolution and the strongest supporter of the regime, which has inflicted tragedies upon them, destroyed their country, displaced and killed millions of them. After his country’s invasion of Syria, the Russian foreign minister had said: “Without Russia, the (Bashar al-Assad) regime would have fallen within weeks.”
Some argue that Bashar’s standing with Russia against the West may cost him his future which is already vacillating, whether Russia wins militarily in Ukraine or not.
There is no doubt that Bashar has become completely affiliated with Russia and linked to it. Therefore, if he has a ten per cent hope that he will return to life and become part of the international community again, this is over forever. It is true that this increases his isolation, impoverishment, depletion and weakening. As long as Russia controls Syria, this would mean more torment, suffering and collapse for Syria and the Syrians.
Let us see if the Ukraine war proves to be a blessing for the Syrians as a people, or a new and more severe curse.
[Faisal Al Kasim in Al Quds Al Araby]
Vladimir Putin, during a televised meeting of the Russian Security Council, instructed his Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, saying: “If you see that there are people willing (to fight) voluntarily, then you should help them move to the combat zones.” To which Shoigu replied: There are 16,000 volunteers in the Middle East who are ready to fight with Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine.”
One of the well-informed Syrian websites indicated that Moscow opened the door for six months volunteering. It is a paid military work with salaries ranging between USD 200 and USD 300 a month.
This is how Putin has responded to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky’s announcement of the formation of a “Foreign Regional Defence Corps” to defend his country and to the news that some foreign volunteers have already arrived, from neighbouring European countries, such as Poland, Latvia, Croatia and Denmark, as well as from Britain and the US. Some of them have already started combat missions against the Russian forces.
According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, about 20,000 foreigners, mainly from European countries, declared their willingness to volunteer “in order to help Ukraine fight Russia.” He said that the reason for this large number of people willing to fight is “their hatred of Russia” and that “when they saw that the Ukrainians were fighting and that they did not surrender, they rushed to join the fight.”
It shows that international and national laws are neglected in a country which is under the absolute authority of one person.
[Editorial, Al Quds Al Araby]
Compiled and Translated by Faizul Haque