The notion that Russian mercenaries fighting for Assad are wearing “British uniforms” is astounding.
According to reports, Russian mercenaries fighting for President Bashar al-government Assad’s troops in Syria are donning British uniforms to avoid being blamed for their “off the grid” actions.
It comes after photos emerged a week ago of a Russian military contractor dressed in a British combat uniform with a Union Flag patch sewed on the left upper sleeve. Wearing another country’s flag violates a slew of international treaties, including the Hague and Geneva, and is technically prohibited even by the Russian Federation.
Although parliament voted against British ground forces entering Syria, this does not apply to Special Forces, who are not subject to parliamentary approval.
A small group of SAS and SBS soldiers remain in Syria today as part of a joint special operations task team that keeps an eye on so-called Islamist prisoners guarded by Kurdish forces.
They provide “ground awareness and target recognition” for RAF planes, which have been called in to attack Islamic State terrorist remnants as late as May.
Thousands of private military contractors are believed to be stationed in Syria, the majority of whom are former soldiers who are paid well to carry out “black operations” – missions that regular Russian forces are not allowed to participate in in order to maintain “plausible deniability” for the Kremlin.
A Russian mercenary riding on the back of an open-top vehicle in Syria is shown with the union flag clearly visible on his left bicep, according to one image.
It was published on a Russian-language website frequented by current and former members of the enigmatic Russian Wagner Group on July 7. It was founded in 2014 and is led by Dmitry Utkin, a former GRU lieutenant colonel who is tied to Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin.
While private military corporations are technically forbidden in Russia, observers say Wagner and other organisations such as Shield and Patriot have played a growing role in allowing Putin to pursue his foreign aspirations in recent years.
Wagner recruited many Russian-speaking individuals, according to the independent website Novaya Gazeta, who killed and maimed a captive on camera in the eastern Homs province in 2018.
In the Battle of Khasham in 2019, around 200 Wagner fighters were killed or injured in a four-hour firefight between US-led pro-democracy forces and regime forces and militia.
“Brinkwire Summary News” was published in March of this year.