Hezbollah are recruiting European mercenaries to fight for Bashar Assad in Syria’s civil war, according to security sources.
The Lebanese Daily Star newspaper reports that intelligence services received information on batches of mercenaries arriving at Rafik Hariri International Airport near Beirut, en route to Syria to fight for Assad’s regime.
The first batch arrived in January last year, consisting of 23 fighters, who were then bussed around Lebanon to be briefed by Hezbollah officials, including Abu Hussein. They were then sent to the Syrian town of Serghaya, near Damascus.
A second batch of 11 fighters arrived in Lebanon individually so as not to draw attention. They are said to be of East European and Caucasian origin, with three hailing from the province of Dagestan in southern Russia.
These fighters are wearing Hezbollah uniforms with distinctive yellow bands around their heads. Sources also reveal that they had been recruited especially to fight for Assad for a large salary and insurance for their families.
They are said to have already had professional military training.
There have been reports over previous months of fighters from various European nations joining the Syrian rebels, but this is the first instance of foreigners fighting for the ruling regime. About 5,000 European citizens have joined Syrian rebel groups, some of them extremely hard-line, in order to conduct “jihad”. There is said to be “intense” coordination between these groups and Islamist cells in Europe.