The Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria say they are not in the country for the money or to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“[Syrians] can’t stand Assad,” one Russian mercenary commander told RFE/RL. “Really. Only a tiny percentage of the population there supports him and the rest oppose him. Only [Russian President Vladimir] Putin supports him. Russia supports him — no one else.”
There is a bigger motivation, the mercenary claimed. “If you are fighting under a Russian flag, with a Russian weapon, even if you are eating moldy food and are 10,000 kilometers from home, you are nonetheless fighting for Russia,” he said.
“There is no Syrian war,” he added. “There is no Ukrainian war. There is only a war between the Russian Federation and the United States…”
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