(Photo credit: Stringer / REUTERS)
The foreign intelligence service of Russia (SVR RF) warned on 4 March that the US and NATO countries are sending ISIS fighters from Syria to Ukraine.
The ISIS members, who are reportedly headed to Ukraine, underwent special training at the US army’s Al-Tanf military base in Syria.
The SVR also stated that similar extremist groups are being recruited throughout West Asia and North Africa. The militants will allegedly enter Ukraine through Poland.
The SVR statement detailed the history of the secret operation they uncovered, saying in a statement: “At the end of 2021, the Americans released from prisons … several dozen Daesh terrorists, including citizens of Russia and CIS countries. These individuals were sent to the US-controlled Al-Tanf base, where they have undergone special training in subversive and terrorist warfare methods with a focus on the Donbass region.”
The US claims that the illegal presence of their troops in northeast Syria is to protect the country’s vast oilfields from falling under the control of ISIS.
Neither Moscow nor Damascus believe this official explanation, with the latter accusing the US of using it as an excuse to steal Syrian oil.
However, ISIS fighters are not the only foreign militants to be recruited to join the fight against Russia in Ukraine.
According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, private military contractors have poured into Ukraine from around the world.
“US military intelligence has launched a large scale propaganda campaign to recruit PMC [private military company] contractors to be sent to Ukraine. First of all, employees of the American PMCs, Academi, Cubic, and Dyn Corporation are being recruited. […] Only last week, about 200 mercenaries from Croatia arrived through Poland, and joined one of the nationalist battalions in the southeast of Ukraine,” Konashenkov said.
Both Iraq and Syria have accused the US of supporting and transferring ISIS fighters within the region.
Earlier this year, The Cradle reported that US forces transferred dozens of ISIS detainees, including high-ranking commanders, to Deir Ezzor governorate, which is close to the Iraqi border. This was reportedly an attempt to “revive ISIS” for the purposes of destabilizing a region that had recently been liberated by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) with the help of Russian troops.
In August last year, similar reports surfaced after a high-ranking officer from Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) reported that their thermal cameras detected US military helicopters transferring ISIS fighters to different locations around the country.
Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February after responding to the call for assistance by the newly-recognized republics of Dontesk and Luhansk.
Despite recognition of their independence by Russia, Ukrainian armed forces continued to shell civilian targets and to breach the borders of the two republics, prompting the leaders of the republics to formally ask Russia for military assistance.