Iran Recruits Afghan Refugees to Die for Assad in Syria

afghan refugees in Iran REUTERSOmar Sobhani
Omar Sobhani/Reuters

The regime in Tehran is recruiting Shiite refugees in neighboring Afghanistan and sending them into battle in defense of forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The recruiting effort has become a widespread success. The pro-Assad Fatemiyoun Brigade, made up of Afghan refugees, is now the second biggest foreign military entity on the ground in Syria that is fighting in support of the Damascus tyrant, just second to Hezbollah terror group, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, according to The Guardian.

Previous estimates have stated that the Afghan refugees are promised about $500 dollars a month to fight in Syria.

Iranian authorities are recruiting from the cities of Mashhad and Qom, which have the biggest population of Afghan refugees in Iran. They are sold on the promise of a salary, an offer of permanent residency in the country, and the notion that they are fighting to defend Shia holy sites in Syria, the report adds, noting that Iran refers to refugees killed in battle as “defenders of the holy shrine.”

The dispatch claims that young men “sign up on a daily basis” to go fight on behalf of Iran’s jihad in Syria. Iran will even sign up minors for war, given that they have their parents’ consent, according to the report.

“This is mere exploitation of vulnerable people,” Mujtaba Jalali, an Afghan refugee born in Iran, told The Guardian. “This is the war Iran is fighting at someone else’s expense.”

“It’s Afghan refugees in Iran who are paying the price of Tehran’s support for Assad and they are being lied to about the real motives. It’s not religious, it’s political. Instead of protecting its refugees, Iran is using them,” he added.

According to estimates, around three million Afghan refugees are believed to be living in Iran. Only around one million have registered officially with the government.

Breitbart News reported in September that the Afghan refugees in Iran were being used essentially as “cannon fodder” for Assad’s forces, leading to a high death toll among their ranks.

And even if the Afghan refugees do not join the battlefield, “Afghan boys and men are subjected to forced labor and debt bondage in agriculture and construction” in Iran, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2014 Trafficking in Person’s report.


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