At least 87 terrorists had left the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib to go fight against the Russian military in Ukraine, Sputnik reported on March 30.
Sources familiar with the matter told the Russian news agency, that the terrorists, mostly Iraqis, French, Tunisians and Chechens from al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Horas al-Din and Ansar al-Tawhid, departed Greater Idlib on March 26.
According to the sources, the terrorists, who are highly experienced in guerrilla warfare, were all members of ISIS before joining their new factions.
HTS, the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib, moved the terrorists to the town of Saramada, which is located on the Syrian-Turkish border, on March 24 and 25. The terrorists then entered Turkey, and from there they were transported to Ukraine.
Abu Mohammed al-Julani, leader of HTS, played a key role in encouraging foreign terrorists to go fight in Ukraine, where the Russian military is currently carrying out a special operation. During a series of meetings in one of Idlib city mosques, the leader insisted that only foreign terrorists could travel while Syrians must remain in their country.
“Al-Julani personally pledged, during those meetings, to fully secure the needs of the families of the terrorists until their return from Ukraine,” Sputnik quoted its sources as saying.
The information revealed by Sputnik was not a surprise. A recent report exposed a plan by the Turkish intelligence and HTS to recruit terrorists from Greater Idlib to fight against the Russian military in Ukraine.
HTS’s attempts to funnel terrorists to Ukraine could provoke a very serious response from Russia, who maintains a large and capable force in Syria.