Russia promoting 5th legion in Tal Rifaat and majority of new recruiters are SDF fighters

Russian armored vehicles on Tal Rifaat entrance in Aleppo northern countryside

Russian forces in YPG-held areas in Aleppo northern countryside set up lately a special office to recruit men who want to join the 5th legion which was formed about a year ago in Syria.

5th legion is a military body was announced by Assad regime on 22 November 2016 but the commandership of the legion follow Russian orders directly, many offices to recruit fighters were opened in Syria such as Damascus, Latakia, Homs, Daraa and Suwayda but promoting it didn’t happen in areas outside Assad gripe before.

Arab men and SDF fighters are the target

According to our reporter the focus of the promotion is on the Arab areas under “Syrian Democratic Forces SDF” control, according to man who joined the legion and he is an ex-fighter in SDF-affilaited “Kurds Front” the salary of the fighters is 400$ which is 4 times more than what his salary when he was with SDF.

The number of the recruiters since 3 weeks until early October was around 150 fighters majority are ex-SDF fighters, the center recruit male between 18-50 and the recruiter sign 2 years contract with immunity where no SDF or Assad regime control the fighter who join 5th legion which is one of the best advantages promoted.

Immunity, power and money are the main baits

NSO reporter met an ex-fighter in “Kurds Front” who recently joined 5th legion and lately he is promoting it for his friends to join it.

The fighters who prefer to stay anonymous said he joined the 5th legion for the protection and power it provide at SDF and Assad regime areas, where before any YPG intelligence member could arrest him for any reason but now they have no power on him except the 5th legion commanders who he didn’t disclose their names.

The reporter said areas of 5th legion fighters in Aleppo northern countryside will be inside Efrin city and its countryside, saying it is possible to transfer them to frontlines with armed opposition fighters.

Opinion: the aim is to limit YPG power

Our reporter met Kurdish activist “D-A” who is a resident of Efrin countryside and he is an opponent to Assad regime and PYD who both arrested him for several months in the past 6 years.

“D-A” sees Russian trying to lure the residents of areas in Aleppo northern countryside under YPG control on the contrary of what PYD authorities are doing by imposing its school curriculum and always try to harass civilians to push them to leave their areas and go to Assad regime or opposition areas.

“D-A” thinks that Russians aim to limit YPG influence in the area by luring young men to join the 5th legion with high salaries which is what happened when many SDF fighters left their ranks and joined the 5th legion.

Worth to mention that “Syrian Democratic Forces SDF” captured Tal Rifaat city and nearby villages in Aleppo northern countryside on February 2016 and forced around 50k civilians from the areas to leave and put conditions on who wants to come back that a family member must join SDF group.

سوريا حلب إدلب روسيا تركيا عفرين قسد الأسد داعش الفيلق الخامس Syria aleppo IDLEB FSA sdf pkk YPG pyd ISIS ISIL ASSAD

Nigervan Muhammed

A journalist from Efrin city. He studied media in Damascus University. 

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