Syrian rebel fighters prepare to deploy to Azerbaijan – The Guardian

Syrian rebel fighters have signed up to work for a private Turkish security company as border guards in Azerbaijan, several volunteers in Syria’s last rebel stronghold have said, The Guardian reports.

According to the source, the potential deployment is a sign of Turkey’s growing appetite for projecting power abroad.

The Guardian spoke to three men living in the last rebel-controlled corner of Syria, who said that almost a decade of war and grinding poverty had made them keen to register with militia leaders and brokers who promised work with a private Turkish security company overseas. They expect to travel over the border to Turkey before being flown to Azerbaijan.

Two brothers living in Azaz, Muhammad and Mahmoud, who asked for their names to be changed because of the sensitivity of the issue, said they were summoned to a military camp in Afrin on 13 September.

On arrival they were told by a commander in the Turkish-backed Sultan Murad division that work was available guarding observation posts and oil and gas facilities in Azerbaijan on three or six month contracts at 7,000-10,000 Turkish lira (£700-£1,000) a month – significantly more than they could earn at home.

The commander did not give details on what the job would entail, how long the posting would be, or when they were expected to leave. The men are also not clear about the name of the Turkish security company, or who would be paying their wages.

According to The Guardian, the promised salaries are vast sums compared with the 450-550 Turkish lira a month Syrian rebels earn from Ankara in the fight against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

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