According to an investigative report by journalist Vadim El Khayek published in “Novaya Gazeta,” Russia is reportedly deceiving Syrians, who may not even speak Russian, into signing contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense.
In return, they are provided with what are reportedly Russian passports, specifically registered in Yakutia.
“My sources in Syria detailed the recruitment process, shedding light on why the “new Russians” receive Yakut passports,” El Khayek says.
Syrian alleged intermediary Wassim Al Dimashki, previously involved in recruiting individuals for Wagner Group operations in Libya, is now recruiting Syrians for military service in Russian forces.
Wassim informs young Syrians that they will travel to Yakutia to guard gold mines and diamond deposits, citing the vastness of the region and its insufficient local population for such a job. The promised salary for this work is around $2,000 per month, in addition to receiving a Russian passport.
The latest group of recruits, totaling 40 individuals, with 30 from As Suwayda, has already departed to Russia. According to the investigation, Wassim received five million Syrian pounds (about $337) for each person he recruited.
Upon arriving in Moscow, “doctor” Akram Dib Tarraf, a Syrian citizen, met them. He reportedly received nearly $3,600 for every individual who signed a contract with the Russian armed forces, although the source of his payment remains unclear.
El Khayek’s investigation suggests that the Syrians who are sent to Yakutia are divided into two groups upon arrival. One group is sent to Ulan-Ude for military specialization training, while the other goes to a field camp for infantry training.
Notably, none of the new recruits reportedly speak Russian, but they sign contracts in Russian and subsequently receive Russian passports.
“My sources in Syria have sent me two voice notes—one from a suspected recruiter and the other from a Syrian already in the training camp (spoken in Arabic).
The recruiter calmly narrates the virtues of Yakutia, emphasizing its vastness and rich mineral resources. Throughout the presentation, he repeats that the invitation for Syrians is an initiative of the Yakutian authorities due to the sparse population.
In contrast, the message from a man in the training camp is much more dramatic. In a tearful voice, he reveals that they were told they were going to guard gold mines, but in reality, Wassim Al Dimashki sold them as soldiers.
‘Our group was forced to embark on target shooting training. We don’t understand the language and sign papers without knowing what’s written in them,’ the man states,” according to the journalist.
The journalist is convinced that the influx of Syrians willing to sign contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense is not the result of Russian propaganda but rather a consequence of deception.
Earlier, Russian leader Vladimir Putin signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to foreign citizens who signed contracts with the Russian armed forces during the war against Ukraine and their family members.
On 4 January, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to foreign citizens who entered contracts and their family members with the Russian armed forces during the war against Ukraine.